Porter Dodson LLP > Taunton, England > Firm Profile

Porter Dodson LLP

Employment > Employment: Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire Tier 2

The team at Porter Dodson LLP offers ‘fast and efficient’ advice on a range of employment law matters, including TUPE issues, as well as handling a broad spectrum of contentious matters, including whistleblowing and discrimination claims. Sarah Young and Laura Roper were both promoted to partner in October 2022 and jontly lead the practice; the former specialises in TUPE advice, while the latter has extensive experience acting in complex employment litigation.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Young; Laura Roper

Other key lawyers:

Kate Shawcross


‘Fast and efficient service, very sensitive with difficult situations, and advice that protected our business exactly as we would have wished.’

‘The staff at Porter Dodson are all professional, friendly and helpful. Solicitors can be contacted on direct telephone lines and email addresses – no jumping through hoops to try and get to speak to them which saves a considerable amount of time. I have worked with Porter Dodson for over 12 years and built a great relationship with staff over this time.’

‘Laura Roper is experienced, professional and always happy to support – no matter the situation. She understands the issues within the educational sector and always talks things through clearly and with the ability to make something complicated seem more simple and straightforward.’

‘Personable. Through appropriate questioning, they quickly get to the heart of the issue and also establish what the business would ideally wish the outcome to be.’

‘Laura Roper has a logical mind and is clear in her communication and guidance.’

Key clients

Barton Law

Eurolink Technologies Limited

Oakfield Academy

Perrys Recycling Limited

Gloden Limited

Toolstream Limited

Xpedite Group of Companies Limited

3AB Care Group

Minehead Surgery

Bridgwater Bay PCN

Mortgage Select Limited

CC Moore Limited

Cullompton Community Centre

The Ranch Café

Southfork Caravan Park

The Dorset Dairy

Crispin Academy

Somerset LMC


Church View Surgery

Redgate Medical Centre

Axbridge & Wedmore Medical Practice

100 Fold CIC Limited

Encompass Care

Musgrove Willows Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the partners of Minehead Medical Centre on the transfer of staff to an employee ownership trust.
  • Advising 3AB Care Group on a variety of employment law issues, including disciplinary, grievance and performance matters.
  • Advising Toolstream on a variety of employment law issues, including restructuring, redundancy situations, and performance and disciplinary matters.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Tier 3

With the opening of an office in Exeter in 2022, Porter Dodson LLP further strengthened its presence across Somerset, Devon and Dorset. The firm’s client roster includes SMEs, owner-managed businesses and family-run companies, for which it acts on matters such as acquisitions, reorganisations and buy-outs. Practice head Evelyn Adfield has substantial experience across a broad range of corporate and commercial work, for instance in regard to M&A, joint ventures and shareholder arrangements.

Practice head(s):

Evelyn Adfield

Other key lawyers:

David Culshaw; Sarah Young


‘The team at Porter Dodson always go above and beyond with our queries.’

‘Evelyn Adfield is a superb communicator and brilliant at making complex matters outside our expertise simple and concise. Willing to listen and put in time and effort to help us articulate what we need when we do not know the terminology or language involved.’’

‘Porter Dodson’s USP is combining corporate ability with commercial common sense and an ability to relate to the client’s needs whilst charging a fair rate.’

‘David Culshaw is an outstanding corporate lawyer, quickly gets the issues, is responsive and communicates effectively.’

‘A good regional firm.’

‘They talk the right language to a wide range of clients.’

‘David Culshaw has been excellent since the start.’

‘David has the ability to listen, sympathize and has a can-do attitude.’

Key clients

Cooper Associates Wealth Management Limited

Minehead Surgery

Toolstream Limited

Barton Law

Ashridge Capital

Complete Aircraft Holdings

Work highlights

  • Advised Cooper Associates on its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Pengilly Cox Financial Associates.
  • Represented the partners of Minehead Surgery in the transfer of the business to an Employee Ownership Trust, advising on the transfer of assets, associated property transactions, and regulatory and employment law implications.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire Tier 3

Porter Dodson is a go-to outfit for family owned and owner-managed businesses as well as SMEs, which turn to the firm’s corporate and commercial practice for matters such as acquisitions, reorganisations, disposals, and succession planning work. Evelyn Adfield, who is frequently sought after for her experience in joint ventures, shareholder agreements, and demergers, leads the practice. The manufacturing and the food and drinks industries are two key sectors for David Culshaw.

Practice head(s):

Evelyn Adfield

Other key lawyers:


‘Prompt and professional service, backed by excellent communication and ability to set the legal advice in a commercial context.’

‘Supportive but challenging approach, backed by good technical knowledge and excellent communication skills. Evelyn Adfield is exceptional.’

‘Fantastic commercially minded advice, the business is of a size where you are given a personal service, and not bounced from one person to the next. I felt they were acting in my and the company’s best interest at all times.’

‘I dealt with the same person throughout, David Culshaw, who was excellent. Very friendly, level-headed, and professional.’

Key clients

Cooper Associates Wealth Management Limited

Minehead Surgery

Toolstream Limited (subsidiary of Group Silverline plc)

Barton Law

Ashridge Capital

Complete Aircraft Holdings

Work highlights

  • Advised Cooper Associates (SJP Partner) on its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Pengilly Cox Financial Associates.
  • Advised the partners of Minehead Surgery on the transfer of the business to an Employee Ownership Trust.

Private client > Agriculture and estates Tier 3

Porter Dodson regularly handles both contentious and non-contentious matters. The team's broad expertise sees it advising farming and landowning clients on deals for strategic land with developers and promoters, succession planning, and the sale and purchase of farms. The practice is spearheaded by Steve Farnham who has extensive experience in acting on complex promotion and option agreements for land with development potential.

Practice head(s):

Steve Farnham

Other key lawyers:

Kate James; Ben Hingley; Tom Mottram; Helen Williams; Gemma Lindegaard; Emma Starr


‘Good regional practice.’

‘Talk the right language to a wide range of clients.’

Work highlights

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 3

Private client > Family Tier 3

Described by clients as having ‘an excellent local reputation' and a 'client-focused approach’, the family department at Porter Dodson LLP regularly advises high-net-worth individuals, business owners and landowners on a spectrum of family law matters. The practice is sub-divided into two teams, focusing on divorce and financial matters, and children matters, respectively. Department head Richard Baker has over 25 years of experience in family law, and is noted for his work on complex matters involving overseas assets, companies and trusts.

Practice head(s):

Richard Baker

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Marshall; Cathryn Smith; Julia Perrins; Zoe Gaitskell; Ellen Saunders


‘The family law team have been extremely professional, thorough, communicative and sensitive where at times in these sorts of cases facts need to be handled with care. They strike a good balance and always remain realistic regarding expectations and fees.’

‘Porter Dodson have an excellent local reputation and are well-regarded for their client-focused approach, with service levels setting them apart from the competition.’

‘Zoe Gaitskell is a class act; able to provide insightful advice at an early stage, saving clients huge amounts in costs and resolving conflicts that seemed intractable. In the financial remedies space Zoe is diligent, accurate and persistent, working effectively to secure outcomes for her clients that achieve their goals. She is known for her keen eye for detail and client-friendly manner. A local superstar.’

‘Rebecca Marshall is an extremely able advocate, she has vast experience and is always aware of new case law and factors that in to her advice. She is thorough and very professional. She gives advice and responds proactively to instructions given’.

‘The practice has an extremely strong family team with a wealth of experience covering the whole of Somerset. Both Julia Perrins and Amanda Jones are respective experts in Matrimonial and Children Act matters to include international issues.’

‘Amanda Jones has been a family practitioner specialising in Divorce and Children matters for over 20 years and has a wealth of knowledge (both practical and legal) which she brings to all matters. She has substantial experience with high net worth cases and individuals and regularly undertakes work involving business and international aspects.’

Julia Perrins is a partner predominantly operating out of the Taunton Office. She is extremely calm and quick to grasp even the most complex financial matters with ease. Her demeanor provides client’s reassurance that they are in good hands at every stage of their case.’

‘A deservedly well respected large regional firm with an excellent family law team. The numerous fee earners in this large team all have many years of experience in every aspect of family law that could arise. The team is equally experienced in both private and public law children cases and financial remedy cases.’

Work highlights

Real estate > Commercial property: Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire Tier 3

Praised for ‘always going above and beyond’, Porter Dodson LLP notably acts for residential developers and regional GP partnerships - especially in Somerset - handling a range of secured lending mandates. The unit is also increasingly instructed on solar development and renewables projects. Taunton-based Ben Hingley, who spearheads the practice, is noted for his focus on the protection of landowners through the use of overage agreements. Commercial landlord and tenant specialist Victoria Walker, secured lending expert Louise Sanders, and Steve Farnham, who specialises in strategic land development matters, are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Ben Hingley

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Walker; Louise Sanders; Steve Farnham; Emma Starr; Gemma Lindegaard


‘I have always found the practice very professional and helpful with all my requirements.’

‘Ben Hingley has helped me with advice on land transfers and land sales and personal legalities over many years and has always had a very professional and understanding manner.’

‘The team always go above and beyond to help. Everything is dealt with promptly, and we are always kept updated throughout any process.’

‘We mainly deal with Gemma Lindegaard for all our enquiries. Gemma is absolutely fantastic, always available to help, whether it’s via phone or email.’

‘Considerable experience of roll-outs in England and Wales and of the trade counter sector in general.’

‘Louise Sanders and Victoria Walker work well as a team, both are prepared to discuss issues with the other side’s advisor. Able to focus early on key requirements.’

‘Very personal and all have a good knowledge of my business requirements.’

Key clients

Vi-Spring Limited

The Whitefeather Coffee Company Limited

And So To Bed

Toolstation Limited

Minehead Medical Centre

Wells City Practice

Hendford Lodge Medical Centre

Hillcroft Surgery Supplies Limited

Trustees of the Camel Pension Fund

Levers Estates Limited

Sherborne Castle Estates

Work highlights

  • Advised Vi-Spring Limited on the acquisition of their first standalone store globally in Regent Street, London.
  • Advises Minehead Medical Centre on its innovative conversion from a partnership to an employee ownership trust.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 4

Praised for its 'mountain of experience', the team at Porter Dodson LLP offers a range of services to clients, including the administration of high-value complex estates, creation of trusts, Court of Protection matters, and care home funding. The ‘very knowledgeable and hard-working’ Sharon Collier leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Sharon Collier

Other key lawyers:

Kate James; Tom Mottram; Chris Green; Sarah Stone; Paul Watkins; Clare Sanderson


‘Porter Dodson have a thriving personal tax, trusts and probate practice which is supported by a quality contentious probate team.’

‘Sharon Collier’s combination of ability and excellent bedside manner make her a stand-out in the firm.’

‘Chris Green is a quietly very able and intelligent contentious probate lawyer.’

‘It is evident that the team have a mountain of experience. They give good advice and are very responsive to clients.’

‘Jenni Porteous should be praised for her work ethic. She always puts the client first and ensures she gives good, succinct advice.’

‘The private client team at Porter Dodson have always provided a high level of service to our mutual clients. We feel confident recommending them. The team is led well by Sharon Collier and do seem to function very well as a team, which is important.’

‘Sharon Collier is very knowledgeable and hard-working. She gives excellent customer service despite her high workloads.’

‘Sarah Stone is the stand-out partner for me. She’s excellent, no hesitation in recommending to her. Tom Mottram is also excellent.’

Work highlights

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire

Led by Ellen Yeates, the team at Porter Dodson LLP handles supply chain disputes, intellectual property proceedings, reputation management cases, insolvency litigation and commercial contract disputes.

Porter Dodson conveys a simple and strong message to both clients and employees to reflect the complete focus on quality service delivery and staff engagement, which drives its client-centric approach. To maintain the range and level of commercial expertise and stay abreast of the changing economic environment, Porter Dodson continues to invest in quality appointments.

Porter Dodson is committed to assisting its clients, whatever their needs, and ensures that national expertise is delivered at a local level. The focus is on being the clients’ long-term trusted advisor by putting client relationships at the forefront at all times.

The firm has excellent feedback from clients who value the commitment to delivering a personal approach to legal requirements. Identified by clients as the most important elements of their Porter Dodson experience are communication, accessibility, responsiveness and clear explanation.

Principal areas of work: 

Corporate Commercial: The corporate commercial team draws on its depth of experience and technical excellence to provide a comprehensive service to the full range of business clients, from entrepreneurs, SMEs and family businesses to major retail and national employers with operations locally, nationally and overseas. The team advises on mergers and acquisitions, private equity, restructuring, joint ventures and commercial contracting.

Real Estate:

The team comprises a number of highly regarded lawyers who advise on property portfolio matters of every size. Work undertaken involves site development work (including SIPP’s, site assembly, conditional contracts, options, overage, planning agreements and infrastructure arrangements), property finance and commercial landlord and tenant for national and local businesses and companies.

In addition, the firm has an established client base of high net worth clients for residential transactions.

The real estate and corporate commercial teams are leaders in the field of GP surgery integrations throughout Somerset, being an NHS pilot scheme.

Dispute Resolution: The dispute resolution team is one of the largest in the area and provides a comprehensive litigation service, including mediation services.

Employment: The team advises a number of major employers, providing strategic advice and expertise, including restructuring and TUPE and the provision of in-house training.

Private Client: The team’s high-level expertise and broad knowledge is bolstered by practitioners who are members of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners). The firm has an enviable reputation for advising generations of families on their private legal matters, from property transactions, asset protection, succession and tax planning, to estate administration. The team’s reputation attracts a large volume of contentious probate work, often of a complex nature.

Family: Porter Dodson has one of the largest family teams in the region, with in-house counsel, and can, unusually, offer collaborative family law advice, mediation and representation in court. The team has an excellent reputation in childcare, pre-nuptial and cohabitation agreements. The firm offers a highly innovative, niche fertility and parenting practice.

Recruitment: The firm is always interested in hearing from anyone wishing to join Porter Dodson in a legal advisory or support role, either speculatively or in response to an advertised vacancy. All applications should be sent to deborah.carrington@porterdodson.co.uk

Other offices: Bridport, Dorchester, Poundbury, Sherborne, Sturminster Newton, Taunton, Wellington.

Department Name Email Telephone
Chair Julia Perrins
Corporate Commercial Evelyn Adfield
Commercial Property Ben Hingley
Residential Property Michelle Wilson
Managing Partner Kate James
Family Richard Baker
In-house family/childcare barrister Ellen Saunders
Private Client Sharon Collier
Photo Name Position Profile
Evelyn Adfield photo Evelyn Adfield Evelyn undertakes all aspects of corporate and commercial work, specialising in business…
Sharon Collier photo Sharon Collier Partner in the Private Client Department covering a wide range of work,…
Ben Hingley photo Ben Hingley Head of the Commercial Property Department specialising in landlord and tenant work,…
Julia Perrins photo Julia Perrins Julia undertakes all aspects of matrimonial work, specialising in high net worth…
Laura Roper photo Laura Roper
Number of UK partners : 28
Number of other UK fee-earners : 100