Payne Hicks Beach LLP > London, England > Firm Profile

Payne Hicks Beach LLP

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 1

Headed by Richard Manyon, who is described as a ‘doyen of private client litigation’, Payne Hicks Beach LLP has a ‘dynamic and clever team who deals with very high-profile litigation with real experience and expertise in this area.’ Its roots lie in traditional chancery work and advising on disputes affecting some of the oldest and largest landed estates and domestic trusts. It has expanded into the international sphere and is now also a global contentious practice. Another core area of focus is advising on trusts in the context of divorce proceedings. Jessica Henson has a ‘very good reputation in the market’ for her work running the gamut of private wealth disputes. Rosamond McDowell is currently advising on several substantial pieces of trusts and estates litigation. Ane Vernon is an experienced litigator, while Emma Harris is a newly promoted partner. It also boasts an excellent stable of ‘meticulous and hardworking associates.’ Charlotte Henshall is a talented senior associate.

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‘A dynamic clever team who deal with very high-profile litigation and have real experience and expertise in this area. Richard Manyon is extremely clever and really fights his client’s corner. Jessica Henson is similarly clever, a very good lawyer who is sensible.’

‘For its size, the firm is a powerhouse in contentious trusts and probate and more than holds its own with the other big names in the area. It also has a very strong and well-established expertise in areas such as private client/tax and family, upon which the team can draw where cases involve some element of cross-over in these fields.’

‘Payne Hicks Beach are a firm which punch above their weight in this area. By this I mean they are relatively small but get involved in many of the high profile and high value claims in contentious trust and probate. The team is hard-working and well-organised. Richard Manyon is a skilled litigator in this area.’

‘Jess Henson and Richard Manyon are two of the leading lights in our field. Their abilities and standing within the market are well beyond their years. The team also has the support of one of the best private client teams in the market’.

‘Jess Henson’s kindness and sharp wit make her a pleasure to work with. Jess is very clever, tactically astute and sensible. She’s one of the best litigators. Sean Knight was a good hire from Stone King. Richard Manyon is a very large presence in our market. The team are very busy.’

‘There is no firm that has made greater strides in developing their reputation in contentious trusts and probate work than this firm in my opinion. That is largely due to the strength of several core individuals who are total specialists in this work. They also benefit from a very strong non-contentious private client team, so they do provide an all-service offering to clients.’

‘Richard Manyon is now one of the foremost practitioners in this field, despite still being relatively young. He has had the biggest role in making PHB into a Tier 1 firm. He is incredibly smart but also very commercial in his outlook. He is a formidable opponent and an excellent person to work with’.

‘Jess Henson was a fantastic pick up from BCLP. She was already well-respected in the sector, and she has only become busier since joining PHB. Her biggest strength is her personality – she is just terribly pleasant to deal with. Standout associates are Emily Stoneham, Rosie Sells (a great recruit from Baker McKenzie) and Charlotte Henshall.’

Private client > Family Tier 1

The strength and prestige of the Payne Hicks Beach LLP team is peerless’. It is led by Rebecca Cockcroft, whose ‘forensic approach to cases is extremely effective, and she always goes the extra mile for clients’. The lawyers are at the ‘top of their game’ with ‘strength and depth across the board and are involved in some of the biggest cases’. Baroness Fiona Shackleton is praised for her ‘extraordinary judgment and tactical acumen’ and has been described as ‘the doyenne of ultra-high-net-worth financial remedies work’. The practice is highly regarded for its considerable expertise in handling both high-net-worth financial remedies and children law matters, and the group is frequently instructed in high-profile cases that appear in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. Philip McGuirk has a busy practice in post and pre-nuptial agreements, which often involve a cross-jurisdictional element. Ben Parry-Smith covers all aspects of financial remedy work, while Sarah Williams is the head of the modern family law practice and Simon Beccle has extensive experience of dealing with complex financial cases. Other highly regarded members of the department include Matthew Booth, Nick Manners, Katie Parkes, and Catherine Costley. Joshua Moger was recently promoted to the partnership, and senior associate Amy Barrow joined the practice from Dawson Cornwell LLP in April 2023.

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‘The team at PHB is simply fantastic. They are a varied group of talented lawyers who work to their strengths, delegate well and provide a very high-quality service to their clients. They are a well-resourced, intelligent, compassionate and thoughtful group of lawyers.’

‘Fiona Shackleton is an exceptional practitioner. There is nothing Fiona does not know about family work. She has extraordinary judgment and tactical acumen. She is extremely personable, astute and totally dedicated to her cases; she knows the case inside out.’

‘Joshua Moger is fantastic. He is tactically astute, intelligent and gives robust advice. He is not overly reliant on counsel, which makes working for him a joy.’

‘Ben Parry-Smith is first rate. His pro-active strategic leadership of his team and of the client’s cases is particularly effective. His client management skills (particularly for high-net-worth clients) are especially impressive, and borne out in the demonstrably strong and trusting working relationships that he achieves with them, counsel and opponents.’

Rebecca Cockcroft is a person that you want leading your team. Rebecca’s forensic approach to cases is extremely effective, and she always goes the extra mile for clients. Working collaboratively with counsel at an early stage often gives her clients a clear tactical and strategic advantage.’

‘Matthew Booth, Rebecca Cockroft, Catherine Costley, Orlaith Devereaux, Ben Parry-Smith, Joshua Moger and Philip McGuirk all stand out as brilliant lawyers and tacticians who work exceptionally hard for their client.’

‘Philip McGuirk is a wonderful lawyer; possessed with enormous wisdom, he has a fantastic instinct and knows exactly what is needed in order to get the best possible outcome for the client. Nick Manners is strategically astute and very clever. Isabella Savill is a brilliant lawyer. Highly intelligent and hugely charming.’

‘Sarah Williams is an expert in international surrogacy, advises on co-parenting agreements with same-sex parents, and on declarations of parentage and the exercise of parental responsibility for gamete donors, same-sex parents and intended parents following surrogacy. Her knowledge and expertise on modern families is second-to-none.’

Corporate and commercial > M&A: Smaller Deals, £10m-£100m Tier 2

Noted for its broad M&A capabilities, Payne Hicks Beach LLP possesses considerable strength across the financial services, technology, publishing, chemicals and automotive sectors. The practice is steered by Jonathan Gatward, a seasoned practitioner who has a wealth of experience advising privately owned and managed businesses across a range of different transactions. Gatward has a particular interest in businesses with an intellectual property angle. Practice co-chair Howard Taylor specialises in M&A transactions, and is also experienced in joint ventures and private equity-driven deals. Recent arrivals include Max Baird-Smith, who joined the team from Gide Loyrette Nouel LLP in July 2022.

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Highly competent at a technical level. Very much a partner-led practice.’

Key clients

Bonnier Books UK Group Holdings Limited

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (owned by Stellantis)

Elite Hotels (Rotherwick) Limited

Pineapple Dance Studios

IIAA Limited

Bonnier Books UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising luxury hotel chain, Elite Hotels (Rotherwick) Limited, on the sale of 5 star and 228 bedroom Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa to the Arora Hotel Group.
  • Advising the shareholders of Syntec Holdings Limited on their sale of the company to AIM-listed Eckoh plc.
  • Acting for Bonnier Books UK Limited on its acquisition of the assets of The Salariya Book Company Limited.

Employment > Immigration

Payne Hicks Beach LLP specialises in handling HNW and UHNW clients in relation to the full gamut of immigration matters, drawing upon its related services in tax, media, reputation, and family to fully service this client base. Kathryn Bradbury leads on the work relating to business immigration, working closely with the firm’s corporate team in advising a number of businesses in the finance and tech spaces in addition to a range of HNW individuals. Bradbury is noted for her ‘unequalled knowledge of the workings of the home office‘ and geographical breadth of her clients. Matt Ingham heads up matters concerning HNW asylum claims, and has technical proficiency across the commercial, political, and diplomatic dimensions of claims of this nature. Ingham has experience in all aspects of this work, with expertise that encompasses human rights issues, resisting extradition, challenging red flag notices, and corporate raiding, and associate Gintare Plistkovaite assists in relation to the full range of matters.

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‘Kathryn Bradbury is exceptionally thorough in her approach; she has unequalled knowledge of the workings of the home office, considers all possible options for her clients, has excellent judgment, and, unusually for practitioners in firms who mainly represent high net worth individuals, she is expert in human rights and protection work and in immigration litigation.’

‘Provides a brilliant service.’

‘PHB’s immigration and human rights team provides a bespoke service to high net worth individuals who have exceptionally complex affairs, often defending multiple legal proceedings. The team know the law inside out and have strong strategic and tactical judgment.’

‘Matt Ingham leads on immigration and human rights litigation at PHB, and he really is a superstar. He has particular expertise in immigration cases with an extradition element, and where clients’ assets are being targeted in the civil courts.’

‘PHB’s business immigration team provides a bespoke service to high net worth individuals and businesses. They know the law inside out and have strong strategic and tactical judgment in dealing with the Home Office. The team are particularly good at collaborating within the firm, taking advantage of the firm being smaller than others in the marketplace.’

‘Kathryn is a highly efficient, strategic thinker who is solution focussed, and has really succeeded in building a team who provide a rounded, personal service to clients who have high expectations. The immigration team under Kathryn’s leadership has grown into a highly efficient group who can be relied on to provide top quality legal advice.’

‘One of the top firms in the UK for complex and high profile asylum work.’

‘Matt Ingham is one of the leading asylum lawyers – he’s brilliant. Kathryn Bradbury is also a first-rate immigration lawyer.’

Work highlights

Private client > Agriculture and estates Tier 2

Payne Hicks Beach LLP has a ‘great combination of high-end private client expertise and a central London location, making the agricultural practice first class‘. The nimble team works with the owners of over 50 farms, estates and country houses varying in size from 150 acres to well over 30,000 acres. Some of these estates are worth over £300m, and many of which have houses and grounds that are open to the public. Practice head Simon Blackburn advises UK and overseas clients on all aspects of managing farms, estates and country houses. Robert Brodrick acts for trustees and owners of landed estates on various tax and estate planning matters, and Rosamond McDowell advises a substantial number of landed estate owners, estate managers and trustees on a broad range of planning, trust and probate matters.

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‘The team has evident strength in its depth of knowledge and contacts within the sector. It also can draw on highly experienced colleagues in other departments of the firm when required to give concise advice to clients’.

‘Simon Blackburn – Simon is readily available to speak to and provides excellent advice, showing an in depth knowledge of his subject. He is also very personable and down to earth which clients and other professionals quickly relate to’.

‘Quick, knowledgeable and personable. Prepared to put the work in’.

‘Simon Blackburn is as good a private client and agricultural lawyer and trusted adviser as one could hope to meet’.

‘Simon Blackburn is diligent, quick, responsive and communicates well. First to say if he is not sure about something and happy to find the answer, or right person who knows the answer’.

‘PHB is one of the few London firms with a dedicated agricultural and estate property practice’.

‘Simon Blackburn lives and breathes agricultural law but is also very commercially aware and constructive in his approach with the other side – he must be the best agricultural lawyer of his generation. Rupert Burchett is a charming and impressive associate who instils confidence’. 

‘The team are pragmatic, fast thinking, agile and most of all superbly able. I find Rupert Burchett to be incredibly client friendly, able and cuts through detail efficiently and pragmatically’.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 2

Rosamond McDowell heads the department at Payne Hicks Beach LLP, which advises high-net-worth clients from the UK and internationally (many of whom feature in the Sunday Times Rich List, Forbes 400 and the Arabian Business Rich List). It also continues to receive instructions from Scandinavia and the Middle East. Other core areas of strength include advising UK resident non-domiciled clients on issues relating to pre-arrival planning and structuring. Robert Brodrick’s practice is divided into three main geographic areas of clients: Middle East, US/UK and UK domestic. Other highly regarded members of the department include Frederick BjørnBasil Dixon, Martin Paisner and Clare Hetherington. Recent highlights included Emma Harris’ promotion to the partnership and Sara Morgan’s addition to the team from Fieldfisher in November 2022.

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‘The team are extremely professional and courteous and are always on hand to offer guidance, especially on matters of a potentially complicated nature. They provide updates on workstreams and the expected timeframe for them, so you never feel like any matter is forgotten’.

‘The team I work with at PHB have been professional and personable at all times. They are always contactable and available for calls/meetings, even those that are often called at short notice’.

‘As good as it gets. PHB have a vast wealth of top-notch lawyers, who know all there is to know, and can do all there is to do. Their clients – rightly – love them. Undoubtedly at the top of the tree, but don’t waste time that could be spent on clients blowing their own trumpet’.

‘Basil Dixon has an extremely loyal following especially among clients, trustees and solicitors in the offshore world. Partner James Bacon has an uncanny ability to solve the most exacting tax or trust problems, and is much sought-after by families wishing to makes their estates or trusts future-proof’.

‘A blue chip Private Client firm that is a one-stop shop for wealthy families seeking a discreet first class service. While maintaining their client base of Landed Estates. They are equally excellent attending to the needs of non-UK families’.

‘Sara Morgan is an excellent addition to the PHB Private Client team. She is technically extremely good and combines this with first class client handling skills’.

Public sector > Education: individuals Tier 2

The education practice at Payne Hicks Beach LLP specializes in acting for individuals in disciplinary procedures, investigations, and contested exclusions related to sexual and academic misconduct, breaches of academic code, and immigration issues. The team is also well-versed in acting for students contesting university and school grading procedures, especially in light of academic complications caused by COVID-19, and frequently advises neurodiverse clients on issues surrounding lacking educational provisions and disability discrimination. Dispute resolution expert Ane Vernon leads the practice and is well-versed in issues surrounding school and university admissions, exclusions, and examinations. Henry Watkinson, who joined the firm from Blake Morgan in 2022, advises clients facing criminal allegations in educational settings.

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‘Ane Vernon is simply excellent. A very fine legal mind, she is pragmatic, thinks of all possible angles, and is not afraid to give her assessment of the situation. As an Education Law specialist, she remains focused on achieving the best outcome for children. Her experience as a litigator is a particularly helpful additional skill should the need for a more combative approach be required.’

‘Henry Watkinson is one to watch. Ane Vernon is a pleasure to work with too. Exceptionally bright pair.’

Work highlights

Real estate > Residential property Tier 2

Spearheaded by Emma Copestake, the team at Payne Hicks Beach LLP is ‘always supportive and always available to assist’. It is well-placed to handle a broad range of high-end residential property matters for various clients, from international investors to landowners and prime residential property clients. Leveraging the firm’s private client department, it is well-equipped to handle all associated private client matters. The group has considerable expertise in leasehold enfranchisement, lease extensions and collective acquisitions. Copestake has a high profile at the top end of the residential market and is skilled at giving related financing, tax and structuring advice. Andrew Berry and senior associate Hannah Robinson also play a pivotal role in the department.

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‘I have worked with Emma Copestake for many years and always appreciate her advice and her judgement’.

‘Emma Copestake – long term relationship, totally understands clients, great at giving advice on all the elements on a deal’.

‘The team are very professional, very efficient, and very knowledgeable. The team are able to respond to the challenges presented, whether time restricted acquisitions or the complexities of the matter’.

‘Property is a key element of Payne Hicks Beach’s practice. It acts for a wide number of extremely rich individuals. The practice has strength in depth: Andrew Berry is highly experienced and first-rate. Emma Copestake is an absolute star’.

‘Emma Copestake is absolutely formidable. She has arguably unparalleled experience, great depth of knowledge of the law in her area, a rigorous intellect, sound common sense and an ability to explain difficult concepts to clients in a comprehensible way’.

‘Emma also has an incredible work ethic, as well as being overall delightful to work with’.

‘PHB are generally well known as being a private client firm that punches above its weight’.

‘I work mainly with Emma Copestake and her team. They have a fantastic stable of HNWI/FO clients who have full trust in Emma. This trust has been built up over decades with some clients following continued service of the highest quality’.

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Reputation management Tier 2

Payne Hicks Beach LLP has a broad range of expertise, regularly advising on issues relating to reputational attacks, pre-publication matters, defamation and unwanted media attention. This work is done on behalf of a series of prominent UHNWIs, as well as leading corporates. Dominic Crossley is an expert in breach of confidence, defamation and harassment matters, regularly acting for victims of crime and press misconduct. Hanna Basha has extensive experience in defamation, privacy, harassment and data protection, with particular expertise in pre-publication situations. Andrew Willan specialises in the crossover between cybersecurity, privacy and data protection matters.

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‘A strong team with vast experience of media and reputation management issues, and of high-profile litigation.’

‘Dominic Crossley – a brilliant team leader, who is always a calm and reassuring presence, even at difficult moments.’

‘Andrew Willan – strong on drafting and communication with counsel and clients, a pleasure to deal with.’

‘Dominic Crossley: a heavyweight, great with clients, knows the industry inside-out. Hanna Basha: safe pair of hands, very experienced. Andrew Willan: pragmatic, personable, delivers great advice.’

‘Hanna Basha – astute and commercially minded lawyer who is able to assist clients who have reputational issues to achieve the best result in the best way.’

‘Andrew Willian – a more recent addition to the partner team following his continued success in this field. He is approachable and has an in-depth knowledge of reputation management issues.’

‘PHB offers a highly personalised service from a team for whom nothing is too much trouble. They are empathetic at times of challenge and tactically very astute in their handling of sensitive personal affairs with a view to achieving a good outcome.’

‘Hanna Basha is excellent. Sensible, pragmatic and fearless in her advocacy for her client.’

Key clients

Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein

Dillian Whyte

Lady Barclay

Michael Rosen

Georgia Harrison

Ocado Retail

Jeremy Kyle

Work highlights

  • Advising on the cyber-attack of Princess Haya and her associates by Sheikh Mohammed (or those acting at his behest) and related media and privacy issues.
  • Acting for Dillian Whyte in his proceedings against CBS Interactive and Boxing Acquisition in relation to publication of private and confidential information on the Boxing Scene website.
  • Acting for Georgia Harrison in High Court litigation against Stephen Bear in relation to the publication of her private information on the OnlyFans website.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: mid-market Tier 3

The ‘innovative and dynamic team‘ at Payne Hicks Beach LLP handles disputes concerning finance (including financial services), commercial issues, fraud, insolvency, and professional negligence. The team is also instructed in company-related disputes, such as unfair prejudice claims. In addition to acting in media sector litigation, dispute resolution department head Dominic Crossley advises educational and sporting institutions, politicians, public sector bodies, and entrepreneurs; and Lucas Mooreidentifies the quickest possible route to the solution‘. Providing further partner-level support are experienced commercial litigators Georgina BayleyAne Vernon and Paul Dorrans.

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‘A niche firm, which has the ability to generate interesting and high-profile work and to deliver it with great effect.’

Good service and commercial nous.

‘The best boutique practice in London. Wonderfully collaborative and technically superior to all its rivals.’

‘PHB operates at the intersection where a law firm steeped in history meets an innovative and dynamic team with bucketloads of commercial acumen.’

‘Lucas Moore’s appreciation for the commercial realities of a claim, particularly at the outset, make him stand out from other lawyers.’

‘Lucas Moore is razor-sharp and identifies the quickest possible route to the solution, which is invaluable.’

‘Paul Dorrans has a very reassuring presence and rightly gives clients great confidence. He shows excellent judgement.’

‘Georgina Bayley is excellent – a first-class litigator with a deft touch for clients.’

Key clients

Diligence International

Work highlights

Employment > Senior executives Tier 3

With a client base predominantly comprising senior executives in the financial sector, Payne Hicks Beach LLP‘s ‘exceptional’ team is known for handling Employment Tribunal proceedings. Co-heads Peter McRoberts and James Townsend specialise in reputation management and cross-jurisdictional contractual employment disputes, respectively. Chris Weaver has a broad practice covering both advisory work and litigation. Domonique McRae is another key team member.

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‘Peter McRoberts was exceptional. His manner was delightful and his listening skills were highly astute.’

‘Payne Hicks Beach is an exceptional and unique firm, filled with brilliant lawyers.’

‘Peter McRoberts is a highly experienced and established practitioner who has a great knack for being involved in significant and high-profile claims. He acts mainly for claimants and inspires confidence and loyalty in them.’

‘James Townsend is an experienced, confident and assured practitioner, with excellent client care skills. Terrific commercial acumen and a great tactician. A real stand-out legal adviser.’

Private client > Art and cultural property Tier 3

Till Vere-Hodge and James Bacon co-lead the specialist arts practice at Payne Hicks Beach LLP. Vere-Hodge covers all areas of law relating to artworks, antiquities and collectibles, and has built up considerable expertise in resolving claims pertaining to looted artworks and antiquities. Clients include high-net-worth individuals, dealers, galleries and museums. Bacon is recognised for his knowledge of heritage property taxation matters, and has niche expertise in the use of maintenance fund settlements for land. Mark Jones joined the team from Blake Morgan LLP; he has an impressive track record of advising art market participants on their anti-money laundering obligations.

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‘The team at PHB have a great client list who own art or are thinking of buying art’.

‘The arrival of Till Vere-Hodge has bolstered the PHB art practice and particularly on the restitution side. He has been excellent, combining knowledge and experience to very good effect’.

‘Friendly. Expert. Knowledgeable. Efficient’.

‘Emily Woods -very knowledgeable and expert in her field. Efficient and friendly’.

‘Till Vere-Hodge is a practitioner of exceptional knowledge and judgment. His breadth of expertise in matters related to the contemporary art market and its disputes, to questions of ownership and interaction between choices of law between the UK and Germany are unmatched’.

‘They provide the highest quality professional advice in the field of art and cultural property legislation, and their knowledge within this field is unparalleled’.

‘Till Vere-Hodge is the star of the team, with his many years of experience in undertaking complex litigation and legal research. He is more approachable and customer focused than any of his market competitors, and his intelligence, humility and discretion are second to none’.

Corporate and commercial > Partnership Tier 4

Offering advice across a range of areas including tax, financial services, dispute resolution and employment, the partnership lawyers at Payne Hicks Beach LLP assist in the structuring, administration, and dissolution of partnerships. Head of team Jonathan Gatward is well versed in assisting with the entire life cycle of partnerships, whether this involves general, limited liability or limited partnerships. James Bacon specialises in tax, trust and succession law, offering significant experience in farming partnerships, while Simon Blackburn advises on all aspects of the management and transactions relating to farms, estates and country houses. Clients include traditional farming partnerships, high-net-worth individuals seeking property joint ventures, and professional practices.

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Key clients

Rayner Essex LLP

Griffins (insolvency practitioners)

Work highlights

  • Advising a top 50 London based accountancy practice on revisions to its LLP deed.
  • Advising a London based insolvency practitioner partnership on its possible conversion to an LLP.
  • Continuing to advise a top 100 law firm on its conversion to an LLP.

Crime, fraud and licensing > Crime: general Tier 4

The crime department at Payne Hicks Beach LLP, which sits within the wider disputes resolution practice, regularly advises high and ultra-high net worth individuals in a variety of criminal cases such as sexual assault, harassment, drugs offences, and cross-border crimes. The ‘utterly exceptionalMark Jones leads the team, with support provided from Hanna Basha, Nick Grant, and associate Henry Watkinson.

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‘The team is well-resourced and innovative, at the top of their game.’

‘Mark Jones is utterly exceptional – the man to see if you’re in trouble – and has an incredible gift for making things go away.’

‘A growing presence in the field of criminal law, particularly white-collar crime. Mark Jones, an outstanding recent hire, has raised their profile considerably.’

‘Mark Jones is a first class fraud lawyer, who is able to draw on his experience in defending complex and serious white collar criminal cases to defend in general crime as well. He is a great tactician, and he has first class client care skills.’

‘Mark Jones knows his law, has a great rapport with clients, and exudes class. Top drawer.’

‘Mark Jones is wonderful to work with. He has sound judgement, excellent client care skills, and is strategically a great tactician.’

‘Mark Jones provides an exceptional service both to clients and counsel alike: he is analytical, thoughtful, attentive and his instincts are spot-on.’

‘This relatively new team is going from strength to strength, attracting high profile clients.’

Real estate > Commercial property: corporate occupiers Tier 4

Payne Hicks Beach LLP often supports Middle and Far Eastern, Scandinavian and US investors, in addition to blue chip, hotel, leisure and restaurant occupiers. The team also has extensive knowledge of new development and town planning, landlord and tenant issues, as well as property management. Emma Copestake is often engaged in bank, developer and investor property purchases, while Andrew Berry is sought out by a range of high-net worth clients in the residential and leisure sectors. Simon Blackburn helms the sale of land for development, while Marisa Beccarelli and Alex Blain are noted for their knowledge of real estate financing. Andrea Yiakoumetti recently oversaw the acquisition of two Central London restaurants for a foreign conglomerate.

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‘Alexander Blain is very dedicated and service-orientated.’

‘One of the go-to firms for property work. The department is brilliantly headed by Andrew Berry and Marissa Beccarelli is a total star.’

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 4

The real estate litigation team at Payne Hicks Beach LLP has a strong track record acting for high-net-worth individuals in the central London residential sector. In particular, leasehold disputes are an area of expertise, alongside professional negligence and countryside issues. The ‘very experienced and accomplished’ Matthew Spring spearheads the department, specialising in leasehold enfranchisement and other landlord and tenant matters. Scott Goldstein is experienced representing noteworthy clients on both commercial and residential matters.

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‘Matthew Spring is a very experienced and accomplished litigator who has made it his business to understand, in-depth, all the history of the litigation at the mansion block which is the subject of the litigation. This provides him with an advantage over the opposition lawyers.’

‘Matthew Spring is entirely dedicated to acheiiving the best outcome possible for his clients. He works extraordinarily hard to ensure that they receive the best possible service.’

‘Scott Goldstein handles difficult cases with ease – he addresses all angles and is assiduous and thorough in his preparation and presentation of the paperwork, enabling complicated matters to be readily digested and put forward to the client’s best advantage.’

‘The team is well-known for private client work and has a good range of resources from residential and commercial landlord and tenant work, to tax and wills work so that he can provide good all-round advice.’

‘Matthew Spring is very detail-orientated and goes the extra mile for his clients. A robust and effective litigator who deals well with challenging and demanding clients.’

‘Scott Goldstein has proved to be an excellent solicitor; tenacious yet considered and always ready to consider any angle to assist his clients.’

‘They are very tenacious and knowledgeable litigators. Their quality of work is tremendous given the size of the team, and they are able to collaborate to great effect with the exceptional family law team at the firm.’

‘Matthew Spring embodies the firm’s approach, combining tradition and modernity. He’s a punchy litigator who knows how to press his clients’ case all the way, and leaves no stone unturned and no angle unexplored.’

Key clients

Morshead Mansions Limited

K Group Holdings Inc and Park Lane Holdings Inc.

Private client > Charities and not-for-profit Tier 5

Rosamond McDowell leads the offering at Payne Hicks Beach LLP, which has many long-standing private and institutional clients in the charity sector. Martin Paisner specialises in private client and charity work. Another recent growth area for the practice is through the work of Till Vere-Hodge, who has particular expertise in art and cultural heritage issues for museums and other charity clients.

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‘Long experience in the field. Good, strong individuals’.

‘Till Vere-Hodge is very keen to do his best for his clients and is a pleasant person to work with’.

‘This firm is a pleasure to deal with. They are responsive, thorough and very professional’.

‘The team I work with most closely is led by Rosamond McDowell, supported by Sara Morgan (Partner) and Dean Ryan (Senior Associate). They are a formidable team which brings clarity and solutions to complex issues, who provide an exceptional and outstanding service’.

‘I have enjoyed the privilege of working closely with Martin Paisner for some several decades. Martin’s professional work, whether as a private client adviser, his wonderful skills as a charity solicitor, or his numerous appointments as a trustee of more foundations than any other solicitor I know, is a testimony to the high regard and esteem in which he is held’.

‘Martin Paisner’s skills are extraordinary.’

Real estate > Commercial property: development Tier 5

Payne Hicks Beach LLP often supports Middle and Far Eastern, Scandinavian and US investors, in addition to blue chip, hotel, leisure and restaurant occupiers. The team also has extensive knowledge of new development and town planning, landlord and tenant issues, as well as property management. Emma Copestake is often engaged in bank, developer and investor property purchases, while Andrew Berry is sought out by a range of high-net worth clients in the residential and leisure sectors. Simon Blackburn helms the sale of land for development, while Marisa Beccarelli and Alex Blain are noted for their knowledge of real estate financing. Andrea Yiakoumetti recently oversaw the acquisition of two Central London restaurants for a foreign conglomerate.


‘Alex Blain is a rough diamond with excellent legal skills.’

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Sport Tier 5

With the acquisition of Solesbury Gay‘s sports team in October 2022, Payne Hicks Beach LLP continues to grow its full-service sports practice. The team is headed up by disputes specialist Mark Gay, who advises a wide-ranging roster of governing bodies, motorsport teams, and individual athletes on a range of disciplinary, contractual, and commercial disputes. Jonathan Gatward takes on employment, IP and sponsorship arrangements for an array of clients, with a particular specialism in the sailing space. Dominic Crossley heads up the dispute resolution, privacy and media law teams, while Hanna Basha notably advises footballers and boxers on privacy and defamation issues. James Townsend works on intersecting sport and employment law matters. Legal director Nick Grant is also recommended.

Practice head(s):


‘The team are always willing to help and go the extra mile. ’

Mark and his team were very professional and understanding to our needs. They did a great job and helped us throughout the process in every way possible.’

Key clients

UK Athletics

Otmar Szafnauer

Dillian Whyte

Alpine F1 Team

Pineapple Dance Studios

The English Football League

IIAA Limited

Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

Giles Scott

FIA Vice President: Graham Stoker

DNA Fit Life Sciences Limited

Skills and More SARL

Automobile Club Syria

Work highlights

  • Advised Automobile Club Syria on their appeal to the FIA International Court.

Crime, fraud and licensing > Fraud: white-collar crime (advice to individuals) Tier 6

The Payne Hicks Beach LLP defence and investigations group is regarded as being at the ‘forefront of innovation in this sector’, offering in-depth expertise in serious fraud matters and financial crime proceedings. Practice head Mark Jones is a ‘very impressive fraud lawyer’ who specialises in complex criminal investigations brought by the SFO and FCA since his arrival from Blake Morgan LLP in September 2022. Paul Dorrans focuses on fraud and financial crime issues, while Hanna Basha handles privacy and media-related work. Nick Grant and Henry Watkinson are also noted.

Practice head(s):


‘Smart, multidisciplinary, at the forefront of innovation in this sector.’

‘Mark Jones is a man to see if you need help and are in big trouble’.

‘Mark Jones is a very valuable addition to the PHB offering.’

‘Mark Jones is fantastic for individuals work. He has great client care skills and deep knowledge and experience of white-collar crime matters. He is tactically astute and unflappable.’

‘Mark Jones is a very impressive fraud lawyer with huge knowledge in the field and with a first-class approach to strategy. He also has excellent client care skills, and is very responsive.’

‘I’ve worked with Mark Jones on a complex cartel case, brought by the payment systems regulator. He is fantastic to work with, excellent with the client, and brilliant on the law. He gets to grips with the detail of a case but can also stand back and see the big picture. I would highly recommend.’

‘A growing presence in the white collar crime field. The arrival of the excellent Mark Jones has given them a real boost.’


Work highlights

Payne Hicks Beach is a full service law firm providing specialist legal services to domestic and international high-net-worth private individuals and families, family offices and commercial clients. Its offices in Lincoln’s Inn, which it has occupied since its establishment in the 1730s, complement its long and distinguished heritage. The firm is well known for building very strong client relationships, often spanning several generations and for having a thoroughly twenty-first century approach.

With a stellar reputation built on its family and private client work: it is regarded as one of the very best of the small number of firms in the UK providing these specialist services at the highest level. This capability is matched by top ranking expertise in key areas of law including: commercial, privacy and media, citizenship and immigration, dispute resolution, sport, white collar crime and regulatory, and surrogacy, fertility, adoption and modern family law.

Expert teams take the time to understand clients’ needs fully, advising clients objectively but sensitively to suit their particular circumstances or commercial realities, and to ensure the firm provides the absolute right advice.  Whether an individual or a corporate client, the advice will be incisive, straightforward and solution led. Used to working under pressure, often in stressful and sometimes emotional situations, the firm handles difficult issues sensitively and is completely focused on protecting its clients’ interests.

Much of the firm’s work is international, arising from the US, Scandinavia, Middle East, Far East, Russia, Africa, Switzerland and other European countries. Clients include: ultra-high net worth/high-net-worth and affluent individuals and their families (UK and international), landed estate owners, entrepreneurs, trustees, fiduciaries and family offices, family businesses, private and listed companies, charities, schools, financial institutions and professional practices.

Above all, the firm focuses on client care. Its structure, culture and commitment to outstanding client service ensures it can deftly handle complex problems for clients across their personal or business lives, delivering seamless advice across all its practice areas.

Types of work undertaken: Payne Hicks Beach’s key practice areas include: private client, family, corporate, employment, dispute resolution, privacy and media law, sports law, property, property litigation, landed estates and agriculture, citizenship and immigration, surrogacy, fertility and modern family, education and advising vulnerable clients.

The private client department is recognised as one of the best in the UK. Its areas of expertise are wide-ranging: from domestic and international tax, trust and estate planning, family offices, US/UK work, heritage property and agricultural work, property development, taxation, probate and trust administration. The team acts for individuals, families, estates, trusts, family businesses, educational establishments, museums and charities with the aim to build long-term relationships with clients and families that often span several generations. Whilst many clients are based in the UK, a significant number are overseas or have overseas interests and the team advises on a variety of offshore and international matters.

The family law department has unmatched expertise in all areas of family and matrimonial law, including Part III claims (where divorces take place abroad, and financial matters are resolved in the UK), pre- and post-nuptial agreements, the treatment of pre-acquired and inherited wealth, and the complex issues involved when children are removed from the home jurisdiction and implications of the Civil Partnership Act. Family law is an increasingly complex area on which the team is renowned for its unrivalled experience guiding clients through difficult and emotional times. Bespoke specialist advice is also offered in the rapidly evolving area of surrogacy, fertility, adoption and modern family matters. Members of the department belong to Resolution, the SRA’s Family Law Accreditation Scheme and The International Academy of Family Lawyers.

The corporate department advises on the full range of corporate and business law. The team provides commercial and pragmatic advice on acquisitions and mergers, new issues, management buy-outs, banking, competition law, intellectual property, family office and governance, sponsorship, marketing and sale of goods, and partnership matters. Clients include high-net-worth individuals, business owners, private and publicly listed companies, international groups, family offices and private equity and sovereign wealth funds across a wide range of different industries and sectors. The team has significant experience in acting for wealthy individuals in relation to their corporate law and business requirements, complementing the firm’s leading position for private client and family work.

The employment department advises employers and senior employees on all contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including their rights and obligations and the conduct of tribunals and other hearings. It is known for advising on complex contractual whistleblowing or discrimination issues that are often very high value or of significant public interest for senior individuals, and for employers across a wide cross-section of industries.

The dispute resolution department handles a broad range of work including domestic and international contentious trusts and estates, Inheritance Act claims, finance disputes including banking, shareholders and insolvency, commercial disputes in general and specifically in the motor industry professional negligence, breach of warranty, intellectual property, landlord and tenant, loan instrument disputes and town and country planning. There is particular expertise in representing clients before high-profile public and regulatory inquiries and Judicial Reviews. Other areas of work include marine and construction contracts, sailing-related issues, partnership disputes, and property disputes. With niche practices in sports, education and entertainment. Everyday life and commercial dealings can lead to unwelcome disputes and, as experts, the team makes sense and resolves all types of complex problems.

The privacy and media department specialises in managing and protecting client reputations through its extensive experience and intimate understanding of how the media and other publishers work. The team’s work encompasses a wide range of clients and circumstances and is well known advising on: significant reputational attacks, unwanted media/social media attention faced by high-net-worth individuals, libel, privacy, harassment, GDPR and Data Protection Act issues, pre-publication issues for publishers, litigation, arbitration and regulatory proceedings, phone hacking claims for claimants, online-publication, cyber-stalking and Norwich Pharmacal applications, urgent interim-injunctions and claims for breach of confidence. The partners in the team are well-recognised commentators on the development of the law in these areas.

The sports law team is best known for its expertise in sailing, marine sports and equine matters which is complemented by its extensive experience in sport disputes, including marketing and sponsorship issues, media relations and sports contracts. The firm acts for a number of famous competitors and also for businesses and charities supporting the sport sector.

The property department advises on all aspects of property transactions, environmental issues, leases, secured lending, management of investment property and development work including joint ventures and planning agreements. It is well known for its expertise dealing with prime residential property transactions often involving international investors from the US, Scandinavia, Europe and Middle and Far East, farm, forestry and renewable energy projects, and agricultural property and landed estates.

The citizenship and immigration department advises on the full range of UK immigration applications, providing services from initial entry to the UK, all the way through to British citizenship. The team is best known for advising: high-net-worth individuals in connection with UK Tier 1 Investor and Entrepreneur applications, overseas companies establishing a branch or subsidiary in the UK under the Representative of an Overseas Business Route, Sponsor Licence revocations for companies and on complex applications for EEA nationals and their family members. Additionally, the team is experienced in appeals and judicial review applications within the immigration context. In the ever-changing world of immigration, the team understands the importance of staying abreast of the continual changes in immigration rules and policy.

The landed estates and agriculture team has a depth of experience which enables them to provide a seamless and wide-ranging service to landowners. Payne Hicks Beach is one of the few London firms that remain fully committed to an agricultural practice. The team advises on key factors such as tax, finance, investment, succession and the structuring of property ownership. Specialist advice includes: buying and selling of farmland across the country, first registrations of large tracts of land, protection from trespass and the protection of mineral rights, diversification and development schemes (for example in relation to alternative energy systems), the difficult process of generational change and succession planning for landed estates including major trust and farming business reorganisations; and tax matters such as maximising agricultural/business property relief and entrepreneurs’ relief.

The property litigation team combines its in-depth knowledge of the property sector with top level dispute resolution skills to resolve disputes concerning property. The team provides specialist advice and support to both commercial and individual clients dealing with lease renewals, notices and rent reviews, service charge and dilapidation disputes, boundary and covenant disputes, planning issues and judicial review, and the arbitration or adjudication of construction disputes.

Department Name Email Telephone
Chair & Private Client Robert Brodrick 020 7465 4300
Chief Financial Officer Adrian Jennings 020 7465 4300
Advising Vulnerable Clients Rosamond McDowell 020 7465 4300
Advising Vulnerable Clients Jessica Henson 020 7465 4300
Advising Vulnerable Clients Sarah Williams 020 7465 4300
Art & Cultural Property Till Vere-Hodge 020 7465 4300
Banking, Commercial & Financial Services Lucas Moore 020 7465 4300
Citizenship & Immigration: Business & Personal Kathryn Bradbury 020 7465 4300
Citizenship & Immigration: Asylum, International Protection & Exception Cases, Human Rights, Judicial Review & Removal Matt Ingham 020 7465 4300
Contentious Trusts & Estates Richard Manyon 020 7465 4300
Commercial Property Emma Copestake 020 7465 4300
Commercial Property Marisa Beccarelli 020 7465 4300
Corporate Jonathan Gatward 020 7465 4300
Corporate & Commercial Litigation Lucas Moore 020 7465 4300
Data Protection Dominic Crossley 020 7465 4300
Dispute Resolution Dominic Crossley 020 7465 4300
Education Ane Vernon 020 7465 4300
Employment Peter McRoberts 020 7465 4300
Employment James Townsend 020 7465 4300
Family Nick Manners 020 7465 4300
Landed Estates & Agriculture Simon Blackburn 020 7465 4300
M&A Howard Taylor 020 7465 4300
Partnership Jonathan Gatward 020 7465 4300
Privacy & Media Law Dominic Crossley 020 7465 4300
Private Client Rosamond McDowell 020 7465 4347
Property Emma Copestake 020 7465 4300
Property Litigation Matthew Spring 020 7465 4300
Reputation Management Dominic Crossley 020 7465 4300
Residential Property Emma Copestake 020 7465 4300
Surrogacy, Adoption, Fertility & Modern Family Sarah Williams 020 7465 4300
Sport Jonathan Gatward 020 7465 4300
Sport Hanna Basha 020 7465 4300
Tax, Trusts & Probate Rosamond McDowell 020 7465 4300
Photo Name Position Profile
James Bacon photo James Bacon James advises on trust and succession law and tax. His work covers…
Max Baird-Smith photo Max Baird-Smith Max Baird-Smith is a partner in the Corporate department. Max advises on…
Amy  Barrow photo Amy Barrow Amy is a senior associate in the Family department. Amy has specialised…
Hanna Basha photo Hanna Basha Hanna is a recognised leader in the field of defamation, privacy and…
Georgina Bayley photo Georgina Bayley Georgina is a partner in the Dispute Resolution department. She specialises in…
Marisa Beccarelli photo Marisa Beccarelli Marisa is a legal director in the Property department at Payne Hicks…
Simon Beccle photo Simon Beccle Simon has an extensive and busy family law practice specialising right across…
Hannah  Bingham photo Hannah Bingham Hannah is an associate in the Corporate department. Hannah acts for clients…
Frederick Bjørn photo Frederick Bjørn Frederick acts for UK and international high net worth individuals, advising on…
Simon Blackburn photo Simon Blackburn Simon is Head of the Landed Estates and Agriculture Team.  He advises…
Alex  Blain  photo Alex Blain Alexander is an associate in the Property department. He specialises in commercial…
Matthew Booth photo Matthew Booth Matthew advises clients in relation to a broad range of family law…
Kathryn Bradbury photo Kathryn Bradbury Kathryn is partner and head of the Citizenship & Immigration department. Kathryn…
Robert Brodrick photo Robert Brodrick Robert advises on tax, trust and estate planning for wealthy individuals, their…
Sir Robert Buckland photo Sir Robert Buckland The Rt Hon Sir Robert Buckland KBE KC MP KC is the…
Camellia Buckmaster photo Camellia Buckmaster Camellia is a senior associate in the Family department. Camellia specialises in…
Rupert Burchett photo Rupert Burchett Rupert is an senior associate in the Landed Estates and Agriculture team.…
Sam Carver photo Sam Carver Sam specialises in the creation and implementation of tax efficient trusts and…
George Clough photo George Clough George is an Associate in the Employment department. George has experience assisting on…
Rebecca Cockcroft photo Rebecca Cockcroft Rebecca’s practice covers all aspects of private family law. She has specialist…
Evelyn  Collins  photo Evelyn Collins Evelyn advises clients in relation to a wide range of family law…
Emma Copestake photo Emma Copestake Emma is a partner in the Property department. She advises on all…
Kim Crangle photo Kim Crangle Kim’s practice encompasses work for both employer and employee clients and advises…
Dominic Crossley photo Dominic Crossley Dominic specialises in the law of privacy, breach of confidence, defamation and…
Alex Curran photo Alex Curran Alex is a senior associate in the Family department at Payne Hicks…
Aoife Devereaux photo Aoife Devereaux Aoife is an associate in the Family department. Aoife advises clients in…
Orlaith Devereaux photo Orlaith Devereaux Orlaith is a senior associate in the Family department. Orlaith advises clients…
Basil Dixon photo Basil Dixon Basil’s practice is broad-based and encompasses the whole spectrum of private client…
Clementine Dowley photo Clementine Dowley Clementine is a senior associate specialising in trusts/estates litigation and commercial disputes.…
Melissa Ellis photo Melissa Ellis Melissa is a senior associate in the Private Client Department. Melissa advises…
Harriet  Errington photo Harriet Errington Harriet is a Partner in the Family team. She is an accomplished…
Marina  Fitzalan Howard photo Marina Fitzalan Howard Marina is an associate in the Family department.  
Jonathan Gatward photo Jonathan Gatward Jonathan is the head of the Corporate and Sport departments. Jonathan is…
Mark Gay photo Mark Gay Mark advises clients in the sports industry on the full range of…
Kelly Gerrard photo Kelly Gerrard Kelly is a knowledge development lawyer and legal director sitting within the…
Scott Goldstein photo Scott Goldstein Scott trained in the City and spent seventeen years in practice in…
Nick Grant photo Nick Grant Nick is a legal director and has experience of a variety of…
Laura Hallahan photo Laura Hallahan Laura is an associate in the Family department and advises clients in…
Emma Harris photo Emma Harris Emma is a partner in the Private Client department and advises on…
Charlotte Henshall photo Charlotte Henshall Charlotte is an senior associate in the Dispute Resolution department with particular…
Jessica Henson photo Jessica Henson Jessica is a private client partner specialising in risk and disputes in…
Victoria Hingston photo Victoria Hingston Victoria advises clients on all aspects of family law arising from the…
Matt Ingham photo Matt Ingham Matt is a partner in the Citizenship & Immigration department. Since 2010…
Mark Jones photo Mark Jones Mark Jones is a partner in our Dispute Resolution department. Mark specialises…
Sean  Knight  photo Sean Knight Sean is an associate in the Dispute Resolution department with particular focus…
Nick Manners photo Nick Manners Nick is Head of the Family Department at Payne Hicks Beach. Nick…
Richard Manyon photo Richard Manyon Richard has a Chancery practice encompassing trusts, property and civil disputes before…
Rosamond McDowell photo Rosamond McDowell Rosamond is a partner and heads up Payne Hicks Beach’s substantial and…
Philip McGuirk photo Philip McGuirk Philip is a partner in the Family department. An expert in complex…
Domonique  McRae photo Domonique McRae Domonique is a Senior Associate in the Employment Department. She advises both…
Peter McRoberts photo Peter McRoberts Peter is the co-head of the Employment department.  He has many years…
Lucas Moore photo Lucas Moore Lucas is a partner in the Dispute Resolution department specializing in commercial…
Sara Morgan photo Sara Morgan Sara specialises in advising on personal taxation, trust and estate planning for…
Martin Paisner CBE photo Martin Paisner CBE Throughout his career Martin has specialised in private client and charity, and…
Katie Parkes photo Katie Parkes Described as “an outstanding family law solicitor with an extraordinary ability to…
Ben Parry-Smith photo Ben Parry-Smith Described in The Lawyer Hot 100 2019 as a “protégé of Fiona…
Shivani Patel photo Shivani Patel Shivani is an associate in the Family department and advises clients in…
Victoria  Robinson photo Victoria Robinson Victoria is an associate in the Private Client department at Payne Hicks…
Dean Ryan photo Dean Ryan Dean is a senior associate and Chartered Tax Adviser in the Private…
Isabella Savill photo Isabella Savill Winner of the “Star Associate” category at the Chambers High Net Worth…
Luke Scarratt photo Luke Scarratt Luke’s areas of practice include financial remedy proceedings and Children Act 1989…
Rosie Sells photo Rosie Sells Rosie is an associate in the Dispute Resolution department with particular focus…
Fiona Shackleton photo Baroness Fiona Shackleton Fiona advises high profile private individuals in relation to complex and confidential…
Verity Sherwin photo Verity Sherwin Verity is an associate solicitor in the Private Client department.  She advises…
Charlotte Skea-Strachan photo Charlotte Skea-Strachan Charlotte is a legal director in the Family department with a wealth…
Matthew Spring photo Matthew Spring Matthew is the firm’s first solicitor-advocate, entitled to appear at all levels…
Emily Stoneham photo Emily Stoneham Emily is a senior associate in the Dispute Resolution department with a…
Isobel Symonds photo Isobel Symonds Isobel is a senior associate in the Corporate department. She joined Payne…
Howard Taylor photo Howard Taylor Howard is a partner and corporate lawyer specialising in the sale and…
Nataly Tedone photo Nataly Tedone Nataly is an associate specialising in reputation management. She has experience with…
Sarah  Thursby-Pelham photo Sarah Thursby-Pelham Sarah is an associate in the Private Client department. Sarah has experience…
James  Townsend photo James Townsend James Townsend is co-head of the Employment department and has over two…
Till Vere-Hodge photo Till Vere-Hodge Till is a partner and heads up the firm’s dedicated Art and…
Ane Vernon photo Ane Vernon An experienced litigator in a broad range of areas of law, Ane…
Chris Weaver photo Chris Weaver Chris specialises in all aspects of contentious and non-contentious employment law.  His…
Andrew Willan photo Andrew Willan Andrew specialises in reputation management. His work covers all aspects of media…
Sarah Williams photo Sarah Williams Sarah is a partner in the Payne Hicks Beach Family department and…
Adam Woodhouse photo Adam Woodhouse Adam is an associate solicitor in the Private Client department.  He advises…
Andrea Yiakoumetti photo Andrea Yiakoumetti Andrea is a senior associate in the Property department at Payne Hicks…
Number of UK partners : 47
Number of other UK fee-earners : 138

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers Verdict

Payne Hicks Beach ‘excels in family and private client work, whilst still providing a full offering and a well-rounded training contract’. The ‘prestigious’ Lincoln’s Inn firm reputation precedes it, with many trainees citing the high-quality work and clients as their reason for applying. The environment at Payne Hicks Beach is ‘less intense and more cerebral than at other firms’. ‘We are given more mentally challenging tasks’ said one respondent, ‘and we have more interaction with senior team members and more direct involvement with cases’. A ‘close trainee group’ means that recruits enjoy coming to work: the idea that ‘we are more friends than colleagues’ was a thread which echoed through the feedback. The firm is a Future Lawyers Winner for quality of work, confidence of being kept on post qualification and work/life balance. The amount of client contact on offer was also highly commended: ‘I am constantly being taken to court and client meetings at the drop of a hat’, said one respondent. The ‘eclectic personalities of some colleagues’ were celebrated by some recruits, whilst frustrating others due to ‘the old-fashioned views which linger amongst the most old-school partners’. Trainees also feel that the ‘pay could be better’, although most recognised that ‘this is the trade-off for reasonable working hours’. Worst moments included ‘being given a time-pressured task to do in too short a timeframe’ and ‘finding it difficult to get input on a matter from a partner, and feeling alone whilst under pressure from third parties’. On the upside, best moments such as ‘drafting instructions to counsel on a self-contained matter and getting positive feedback’, ‘attending a final hearing and watching cross examination live’ and ‘getting involved in sports litigation matters’ enthralled trainees. To train at a close-knit firm with a glittering reputation in family and private client work, where trainees are treated like valued members of the team from the get-go, consider Payne Hicks Beach.