Firm Profile > Russell-Cooke LLP > London , London

Russell-Cooke LLP
SW15 6AB

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 2

Russell-Cooke LLP is particularly recommended for its work at advising on charity mergers and the restructuring of charities. Under the leadership of Andrew Studd the practice is increasingly becoming known for its work at supporting charities in financial difficulties. It also continues to advise charities with unusual governance structures such as charities governed by Acts of Parliament, Royal Charter and Charity Commission Schemes. Chris Rowse is experienced at advising on international projects and James Sinclair Taylor is another name to note for his work on sensitive contractual, funding and risk management issues.

Clinical negligence: claimant Tier 2

Russell-Cooke LLP offers representation to the full-range of individuals requiring legal services, advising adults from all walks of life as well as children who  have been victims of medical negligence. Key areas of work include acting on claims concerning injuries sustained at the time of birth, head and spinal injuries, delays in treatment, misdiagnoses of sepsis and cancer, as well as dentistry, ophthalmology and orthopaedic injuries. Team leader Deborah Blythe acted in the landmark victory in the Supreme Court of Darnley v Croydon Hospital NHS Trust, which further defined the legal principle of the duty of care for non-medical staff and A&E departments.

Court of protection Tier 2

Russell-Cooke LLP has a well-regarded full-service Court of Protection property and affairs practice that advises on both contentious and non-contentious matters. It acts as an independent attorney, deputy for financial matters and trustee in relation to those lacking capacity through progressive illnesses such as dementia or for those who have suffered brain injury. It also helps those who are vulnerable to abuse. The skilled team is particularly known for its expertise at handling cross-border/private international law matters. Rita Bhargava and Gareth Ledsham are the names to note.

Crime: general Tier 2

Russell-Cooke LLP's 'assiduous' team has been kept busy recently handling cases of historic and current sexual offences, assault, firearms and motoring offences. Practice head Jae Carwardine is 'meticulous, immensely intelligent and knowledgeable'; she is supported by the 'super-capableNicola O’Connor. Senior associate Marie Bourke is recommended. In June 2019 Martin Rackstraw returned to the firm after seven years at Bindmans LLP, where he had been joint head of the criminal law team.

Education: individuals Tier 2

Eva Akins heads the education team at Russell-Cooke LLP, which has experience acting for children with SEN and disabilities, as well as for transgender and non-binary pupils who face marginalisation and difficulty accessing school facilities. Associate Georgina Downard assists clients with securing education provision and with appeals. Specialist children law solicitors Samantha Little and Sarah Richardson are also key practitioners in the team; they also handle complex cases involving vulnerable adults.

Employment: senior executives Tier 2

The 'strong and responsive' team at Russell-Cooke LLP regularly represents senior executives in discrimination and whistleblowing claims and in disputes relating to share schemes, bonuses, commission, restrictive covenants and team moves. Anthony Sakrouge, who advises on all aspects of employment law, with a special emphasis on contentious and advisory work, leads the team that includes the 'sharp and straightforward' Alex Bearman and 'savvy litigator' Edward Wanambwa.

Family Tier 2

Russell-Cooke LLP acts on complex and interesting cases. Clients range from those with substantial wealth through to those with modest means or those who are entitled to legal aid. It is at the forefront of new and emerging areas of law such as declaration of parentage, international and domestic surrogacy as well as female genital mutilation and forced marriages. As part of its full service offering it also advises on complex private children law cases involving serious domestic abuse or on issues of adoption. The group is often appointed by the court to represent the children when the children are joined in proceedings. Six of its partners are trained as mediators, five are collaboratively trained and one acts as an arbitrator. James Carroll, Kate Hamilton, Fiona Read and Sarah Richardson are all well-respected practitioners. Hannah Field was promoted to the partnership.

Family: mediation Tier 2

Mediation is a central part of the practice at Russell-Cooke LLP and it offers sole mediation as well as co-mediation and shuttle mediation. Fiona Read, who is a deputy district judge as well as an arbitrator, heads the team and has mediated for many years along with James Carroll who also has an excellent reputation for mediation. Therese Nichols has now retired and Louise Connolly is also recommended. The team mediates on a variety of family and children law-related issues, including cohabitations and property ownership.

Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 2

Russell-Cooke LLP is highly regarded for its work on complex cross-border tax planning and succession issues, particularly those relating to France. Key clients include entrepreneurs, family businesses, celebrities, senior civil servants as well as politicians, lawyers and judges. Its clients range from the substantially wealthy to longstanding clients and their families. The team has also launched the Russell-Cooke Family Office service that is led by Rebecca Fisher. This provides a range of legal services that are tailored to UHNW and HNW clients in relation to their wealth and succession planning. Dawn Alderson is another name to note. Richard Frimston is now a consultant.

Professional discipline Tier 2

Acting for both professional and regulatory bodies, regulated businesses and individuals, Russell-Cooke LLP has 'amassed a considerable amount of knowledge over many years in relation to numerous areas of professional discipline'. The practice has particular expertise in complex and high-profile cases involving solicitors, barristers, healthcare professionals, architects, accountants and charity trustees. Matt Bosworth is a highly rated adviser, and senior partner John Gould and Paolo Sidoli acted for the SRA in a landmark appeal that concerned the concept of lack of integrity for professionals, which had not previously been defined. Michael Stacey and Andrew Pavlovic are the senior associates to note; former senior associate Michael Colledge left for Blake Morgan LLP.

Commercial property: retail Tier 3

Russell-Cooke LLP's ‘technically skilled' team provide 'a personalised and responsive service’. Headed by Matt Garrod, the practice has a well-established reputation in the retail sector where it assists clients with the full range of commercial property issues including acquisitions, lease renewals and developments. Additional strengths for the team include inward investment by overseas clients, landlord and tenant work, residential sales and purchases, real estate finance, redevelopments, joint ventures, overage agreements and the regeneration of brown sites.

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 3

Alison Regan is a highly recommended head of department at Russell-Cooke LLP. The department deals with a broad range of succession disputes across borders and is particularly adept at advising on conflict of law issues and on the interplay between common law and civil law jurisdictions. In addition it is skilled at advising on will challenges on the basis of testamentary capacity and on applications for rectification of wills. Gareth Ledsham has developed a niche practice in applications to the court to deal with property that is owned by minors in civil law jurisdictions.

Fraud: white-collar crime Tier 3

Russell-Cooke LLP handles confiscations, forfeiture, restraint and freezing orders, and defence and prosecution of private prosecutions. Areas of expertise include multijurisdictional cases, employment, regulatory, international and tax advice. The firm is particularly adept at handling cases that involve intrusive media attention. Head of team Jae Carwardine is experienced in advising all levels of professionals and has defended cases against the SFO, FCA, HMRC and CPS. Hannah Bains joined as senior associate from Bark&co and Martin Rackstraw joined as a partner from Bindmans LLP.

M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m Tier 3

Russell-Cooke LLP 's clients are a mix of large corporates, high net worth individuals, entrepreneurs and SMEs, and they are typically London-based. The firm's sector specialities include technology, travel and leisure, and real estate, with the team collaborating with the real estate department on complex transactions with property assets involved. In the technology sector, the team primarily advise start-ups, and is the UK legal partner for the Founder Institute, a pre-seed accelerator for young businesses. Jonathan Thornton is head of the corporate and commercial team, and is the key name to note for advice to creative and professional partnerships regarding shareholding activities.

Property litigation Tier 3

Russell-Cooke LLP's 'strong' practice draws on a wealth of expertise assisting retail industry clients, charitable organisations and high-net-worth individuals, among others, with landlord and tenant disputes, various matters involving freehold land, such as restrictive covenants, rights of way and rights to light issues and party wall disputes, alongside issues pertaining to build-to-rent projects, telecoms sector work and property development matters. The 'excellentJason Hunter is the main contact and handles a wide range of commercial, residential and mixed-use property disputes.

Social housing: tenant Tier 3

Russell-Cooke LLP has a strong commitment to legal aid work, in addition to advising clients on a private basis. Many of its clients are vulnerable, including victims of domestic violence and individuals with severe mental health difficulties. In addition to acting for private individuals, the team demonstrates strong capabilities advising tenant management organisations (organisations run by tenants for tenants) and housing co-operatives. It has been assisting families directly impacted by the Grenfell Tower fire with obtaining long-term/permanent housing, and is also representing a number of households in the inquiry into the disaster. The scope of its broader social housing practice is wide ranging, with the team advising clients on matters including disrepair, possession proceedings, homelessness reviews and appeals, and judicial review claims. Associate Caroline Brosnan has more than a decade of experience of the social housing sector. Another key figure is consultant Matilda Rubens, whose expertise includes homelessness cases that often involve domestic violence issues. Graham French heads up the practice.

Health and safety Tier 4

Russell-Cooke LLP 's team is led by the 'inspirational' Kizzy Augustin, who is an expert in both contentious and non-contentious health and safety matters. She has represented organisations and individuals in HSE investigations and coroners inquests.

Personal injury: claimant Tier 4

Russell-Cooke LLP has a strong record presenting the 'very best cases for its clients'. The team assists individuals who have sustained serious injuries, and occasionally attracts work where novel and interesting points of law are raised. Janice Gardner, whose personal injury legal experience spans nearly 25 years, supervises large multi-party actions as well as high-value cases involving psychiatric and criminal injury compensation claims, and those arising from road traffic accidents. Sarah Towler specialises in claims against local authorities, notably in relation to abused children. Deborah Blythe heads the team.

Planning Tier 5

Russell-Cooke LLP regularly advises private sector clients on their residential-led development schemes in London and throughout the UK. Alex Ground provides the full spectrum of assistance on planning issues such as section 106 applications, CIL, highways agreements, CPO compensation advice, and office-to-residential conversions. The team has a strong contentious offering, with experience acting on planning appeals, enforcement appeals, judicial reviews, and High Court challenges. Clients are drawn from a broad range of sectors including retail, residential development, student accommodation, and private individuals.

Sport Tier 5

Russell-Cooke LLP acts for broadcasters, football clubs, governing bodies, charities and individuals, handling both contentious and non-contentious matters. On the contentious side, work includes acting for broadcasters in IP infringement cases, representing football clubs in employment disputes and advising on disciplinary proceedings. In the non-contentious space, matters relate to privacy, reputation management, data protection and incorporation, including establishing charitable vehicles. Solicitor advocate Matthew Bosworth, who specialises in professional disciplinary matters and intellectual property rights, is retained by Chelsea FC and Tottenham FC to provide ongoing advice in relation to privacy, on-field issues and reputation management.

Commercial litigation Tier 7

Russell-Cooke LLP 'concentrates on providing great value for money and quality advice'. Senior partner John Gould's areas of practice include complex financial schemes; Paolo Sidoli is noted for claims involving fraud and asset-tracing, minority shareholders, directors and partnerships, and breach of warranties; and Lee Ranford is insolvency team head. Elliot Elsey and Michael Stacey were recently made partners, while former commercial litigation team head Francesca Kaye was appointed a Master of the Chancery Division.


Russell-Cooke LLP's business immigration team regularly advises national and multinational businesses on the immigration implications of complex and high-value transactions. The team is also able to advise on complex sponsor license issues; it is regularly engaged in cases where sponsor licences have been revoked or are under threat and the team is noted for its education sector expertise. The team is also engaged by high-net-worth, ultra-high net worth and professional foreign nationals on Investor and Entrepreneur visas. The team also handles a raft of human rights, appeals and overstay mandates; the team advises on complex issues and has a growing reputation for sensitive adoption cases and is also advises families and individuals facing complex immigration issues. Senior associate Nisha Patel leads on personal immigration work for individual clients and is experienced in complex appeals, spousal visa applications and applications outside of the immigration rules. The 'experienced' Edward Wanambwa heads the team.

Russell-Cooke is a top 100 London legal firm with around 200 partners and lawyers. Its highly regarded specialist lawyers, breadth of expertise and mix of commercial, private and public sector clients reflect the complex legal needs of contemporary London. Many of the firm’s teams are leaders in their fields, with peer-group accolades in areas as diverse as commercial property, professional regulation, crime and children law.

The firm: Pursuing its strategy of sustainable development, the firm has expanded through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions. It has extended its breadth but retained a strong focus on service quality.

London’s demanding businesses, public organisations and professionals are attracted by the firm’s combination of serious expertise, unstuffy style and value-for-money fees. Its clients are hugely diverse, reflecting its range of work. The firm has a reputation as the ‘lawyers’ lawyers’, with a client base including the Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Magistrates Association, ILEX and many barristers’ chambers. Russell-Cooke’s ability to tackle complex, multi-dimensional cases means that a significant proportion of its work comes from referrals by other solicitors.

Russell-Cooke is one of a select group of broad-based practices in the top 100. There are few other substantial London firms offering such a full range of legal services.

Types of work undertaken: The firm handles virtually the whole range of contentious and non-contentious corporate and commercial work, with its M&A, real estate and property litigation teams enjoying a particularly high reputation.

The charity and social business team is amongst the top three legal teams in the sector and advises over 600 charities and not-for-profit organisations.

Russell-Cooke offers a full range of services for private clients including highly-regarded children law, family, employment, immigration, conveyancing/residential property, clinical negligence, personal injury and criminal litigation services. Private clients also benefit from the firm’s highly specialist contentious probate, tax, French law and cross-border estates expertise. Additionally, the firm has a principled commitment to an element of publicly funded work.

Russell-Cooke has a substantial international dimension with a dedicated international group facilitating cross-border activities for a diverse range of clients. Clients are drawn from all sectors, and include multinational and overseas corporations, public sector bodies, entrepreneurs and individuals.

Other offices: Putney, Kingston upon Thames

Department Name Email Telephone
Senior partner John Gould
Managing partner Jonathan Thornton
Administrative law and solicitors John Gould
Charities and social business Andrew Studd
Child abduction Fiona Read
Children law Samantha Little
Commercial and construction litigation/ADR Francesca Kaye
Corporate and commercial Johnathan Thornton
Conveyancing Nigel Coates
Construction Peter Kitson
Criminal litigation and fraud Jae Carwardine
Cross-border estates Andrew Godfrey
Employment Anthony Sakrouge
Education Eva Akins
Immigration Edward Wanambwa
Insolvency Lee Ranford
Family Camilla Thornton
Family mediation Thérèse Nichols
Forensic investigation and intervention Nigel Coates
French law Dawn Alderson
Personal injury and medical negligence Deborah Blythe
Probate and wills Richard Frimston
Property litigation Jason Hunter
Professional regulation Matt Bosworth
Real estate Helen Edwards
Sports Matt Bosworth
Tax Scott Leonard
Trusts Richard Frimston
Trusts and estate disputes Alison Regan
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr Nigel Coates photo Mr Nigel Coates
 Donall Murphy  photo Donall Murphy
 Nicola O’Connor  photo Nicola O’Connor
 Fiona Read  photo Fiona Read
 Jae Carwardine  photo Jae Carwardine
 Scott Leonard  photo Scott Leonard
 James McCallum  photo James McCallum
 Anthony Sakrouge  photo Anthony Sakrouge
 Guy Wilmot  photo Guy Wilmot
 Alex Ground  photo Alex Ground
 Dawn Alderson  photo Dawn Alderson
 Alex Bearman  photo Alex Bearman
 Rita Bhargava  photo Rita Bhargava
 Deborah Blythe  photo Deborah Blythe
 Peter Kitson  photo Peter Kitson
 Jane Klauber  photo Jane Klauber
 Gareth Ledsham  photo Gareth Ledsham
 Alan Edwards  photo Alan Edwards
 Dominic Fairclough  photo Dominic Fairclough
 Lee Ranford  photo Lee Ranford
 Rebecca Fisher  photo Rebecca Fisher
 Alison Regan  photo Alison Regan
 Graham French  photo Graham French
 James Sinclair Taylor  photo James Sinclair Taylor
 Janice Gardner  photo Janice Gardner
 Matt Garrod  photo Matt Garrod
 Andrew Godfrey  photo Andrew Godfrey
 John Gould  photo John Gould
 Andrew Studd  photo Andrew Studd
 Howard Swindall  photo Howard Swindall
 Edward Wanambwa  photo Edward Wanambwa
 David Webster  photo David Webster
 Paolo Sidoli  photo Paolo Sidoli
 Richard Frimston  photo Richard Frimston
 Rachael Rigamonti  photo Rachael Rigamonti
 Jonathan Thornton  photo Jonathan Thornton
Number of UK partners : 61
Number of other UK fee-earners : 148
Russell-Cooke LLP
Russell-Cooke offers a 'great breadth of practice areas' including 'corporate and commercial law, personal injury and clinical negligence'. Newbies have found that their training contract allows them to 'run their own matters from early on with greater responsibility'. Such responsibility involves 'attending mediations, exposure to court and receiving great client contact'. The 'friendly and approachable' nature of the firm was appreciated by all, with a 'good work/life balance' earning the firm its title as a Lex 100 Winner in this category. Trainees were glad to manage a 'varied workload' with 'realistic deadlines' and were impressed by the 'level of supervision'. However, the 'lack of transparency around levels of pay for NQ positions' worried recruits, as 'this varies between departments'. There is also 'a lot of competition for the same seat', meaning some trainees didn't always get the seats they wanted. Indeed, most gripes related to 'not getting my number one seat choice' and 'having limited prior knowledge about my next seat'. Despite this, recruits were excited about the quality of work they received, such as 'actively assisting on partners' matters' and 'working on the Grenfell Tower Inquiry'. Work highlights include 'being trusted to meet and take calls with clients alone', 'prison visits' and 'attending a Financial Dispute Resolution hearing'. As for CSR and pro bono, although there are some initiatives, it was felt that there were 'few opportunities to get involved with'. Applicants to Russell-Cooke can expect to be 'less stressed and work shorter hours than at larger 'City' firms' while enjoying interesting work in 'a good-sized firm where everybody gets to know each other'. If this sounds attractive to you, start your research now.