Firm Profile > Charles Russell Speechlys LLP > Guildford, England

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Commercial litigation: Kent, Surrey and Sussex Tier 1

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP's Guildford team is hailed for being able to compete with City practices whilst maintaining a personal service and sensible costs. Whether advising large corporates or smaller businesses, Stephen Burns is especially highlighted for these qualities and Jamie Cartwright  is noted for his expertise in the TMT and automotive sectors. The team is home to a number of high-performing associates including  Charlotte Healy, Katy Ackroyd and Katie Bewick.


The Guildford office has high-quality work and delivers a hard-hitting litigation service where needed.  Despite this the CRS is commercially minded and focused on the cost to the end client.  The team works seamlessly together, is very responsive and communicates well.’

They have the ability to adapt and access a wide range of knowledge across a number of different people within the firm but still managing to balance this with a close relationship with one or two key members of the firm so that we know we always have someone to go to who supports us and knows our business.’

CRS are comfortably able to take on the City firms in large and medium litigation matters. They give sensible and cost-effective advice.’

Stephen Burns is responsive and hands-on as a partner. Katie Bewick is a very impressive junior associate.’

Stephen Burns and Charlotte Healy have been exceptional in dealing with us. We are a small business, so cost is an issue for us and they have both managed to balance that incredibly well whilst providing sound legal advice. They have provided the right level of comfort that we are legally supported and their knowledge and understanding of the case is really good.’

Steve Burns is to the point and articulate.  He gets to the heart of legal issues and puts unnecessary detail to one side.’

Katy Ackroyd works incredibly hard and is very on the ball.’

Key clients

Fiat, Chrysler, Jeep and Alfa Romeo


BCA/We Buy Any Car

Teletrac Navman

Swiss Post

Day Lewis plc

eToro Group


Walkers Chocolates


Construction Tier 1

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP's team 'does not disappoint', as is reflected by it generating work from construction sector clients, as well as those active in the healthcare, transport, energy, education and not-for-profit arenas. Practice head David Savage, who is dual-qualified as a solicitor and barrister, is knowledgeable about the gamut of construction issues; he advises on matters arising from the earliest procurement strategy discussions through to dispute avoidance/resolution, the close out of major final accounts. Recently promoted partner Andrew Keeley advises on construction and engineering contracts for commercial and prime residential projects, as well as professional negligence claims.


The team is experienced in construction and has knowledge of  sector-specific best practices, and, in particular, is able to present FIDIC contracts and adapt them so as to apply to different jurisdictions‘.

We value the consistently-delivered expertise and prompt assistance‘.

David Savage and associate Jack Horsley take personalized approach based on the client’s specific circumstances and provide well-judged and timely legal solutions‘.

David Savage and associate Jack Horsley are very attentive and responsive; both are skilled in translating legal terminology for the layman‘.

Andrew Keeley deals with our requirements efficiently and promptly‘.

Key clients

Ministry of Transport & Telecommunications, Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain

Church Commissioners for England

The Energy Technologies Institute

Eton College

Caring Homes Group

Westminster Abbey

Aberdeen Asset Management

Northvale Construction Limited

Margaret Howell Limited

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 1

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP has a strong profile among high net worth individuals. It also handles contentious trusts and probate matters for several not-for-profit organisations; recent work included defending clients against a number of Inheritance Act claims, representing charities in trust disputes, and also acting in a rectification claim and a proprietary estoppel claim. Elsewhere, the group deals with matters involving offshore trust jurisdictions, such as Guernsey, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Duncan Elson heads up the team, which includes Samantha Ewing, who is recommended for complex will validity claims and multifaceted Inheritance Act claims.

Key clients

The Public Trustee of the Bailiwick of Guernsey

Investment One Financial Services Limited

Employment: Kent, Surrey, Sussex Tier 1

The Charles Russell Speechlys LLP employment, pensions and immigration group is headed by Nick Hurley who is highly rated for contentious work in addition to advising on areas such as reorganisations and business transfers. The team counts an impressive list of international and national companies among its clients with a growing focus on those in the finance and TMT sectors. Ben Smith is in demand for his broad skills in HR matters including redundancies and dismissals and TUPE matters and Andy Williams' ' sound judgement is always valued on all HR issues'. Emily Chalkley is one of a number of associates who also garners appreciation.


CRS is undoubtedly one of the best regional and City practices, combining the right partners and associates with the right skill levels to match client requirements.’

Andy Williams and his team are excellent. Always client focused and attentive and they totally understand my commercial needs.’

Andy Williams is extremely practical and does not over complicate issues. His sound judgement is always valued on all HR issues. I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending him to private individuals or multi-national companies.’

Ben Smith will always go the extra mile for his client.  He is obsessive about getting his clients the best deal.’

Nick Hurley is a real fighter, Nick is the man you want on your side when you are going to high stakes litigation.’

Associate Emily Chalkley has incredible attention to detail and leaves no stone unturned.’


Key clients


Photo-Me International Plc

Amundi Asset Management

National Museum of the Royal Navy

Zenium Technology Partners Limited/CyrusOne, Inc.

Goodwin Procter LLP

DST Financial Services International Ltd

Lord Wandsworth College

Family: Kent, Surrey, Sussex Tier 1

The Charles Russell Speechlys LLP team offers outstanding expertise in challenging children cases including international relocations, child protection  and abuse allegations and domestic and international adoptions. This is in addition to financial disputes over business assets, trusts, pension and tax issues. Karen Wilsher and Shona Alexander lead the team; William Rollin  has a focus on financial disputes side of divorces and the breakdown of civil partnerships and the 'well thought of' Felicity Chapman has significant expertise in areas including nuptial and cohabitation agreements and children and domestic abuse cases. The team is further boosted with the return of Claire Devine  following maternity leave.


An excellent firm all round. The family lawyers are all efficient, well versed in this area of the law and approachable. Some other firms take on clients without appearing to give them a realistic opinion on the merits of their case and appear to be happy to run it just for the fees. This is never the case with CRS.’

The family team work tirelessly for their clients, providing a thorough and detailed approach to case management and sensitive yet robust advice where needed. The presentation of their cases is second to none and yet they remain a very friendly and approachable team as a whole.  Their problem solving approach is to be commended.’

I particularly rate Karen Wilshire. She is a very able and experienced lawyer.  She is both knowledgeable and practical and gives sensible and realistic advice to clients. She also has a very caring and empathetic manner which clients warm to.’

Claire Devine has recently returned to CRS.  She is also approachable and knowledgeable.’

Shona Alexander is a great leader of the family team.  Her technical knowledge is fantastic but she is equally approachable and easy to work with.’

Felicity Chapman is also a very experienced solicitor who deals with some complex work.  Whilst the team will always push for the best outcome for their clients, they are also realistic and sensible in their approach, searching for the compromise where one is possible.’

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 1

Described as 'an insolvency and restructuring team at the top of their game', Charles Russell Speechlys LLP 's Guilford based team carries out a full range of contentious and non-contentious work, acting for insolvency practitioners, lenders and financial institutions, companies, directors and stakeholders. The team specialises in a number of sectors including pharmacy, retail, sport, private wealth and real estate. James Hyne heads the practice and holds significant international insolvency expertise. Senior associate Daniel Moore is another key name to note.


‘The team is technically good, very commercial and responsive to the needs of clients. The advice is couched in language that makes it accessible to non-lawyers and addresses the issues and questions raised.’

‘Highly commercial and practical, giving clear advice promptly and backing this up with solid law!’

James Hyne is exceptionally gifted, bright and great with clients. He has a wide range of knowledge and an ability to get to the heart of the problem…then find the answer.’

‘Dan Moore is a real one to watch for the future.’

‘Prav Reddy is exceptional: he is very knowledgeable, has excellent contacts and is a real pleasure to work with. He is hard working, yet gives off an air of sublime confidence which translates into sturdy and robust advice.’

‘Hanh Ngyuen is very responsive and actively involves the team in engagements. She can always be relied upon to put in the time to get the right result’

Key clients

Alix Partners Services UK LLP

Credit Suisse (UK) Limited

Turpin Barker Armstrong

Grant Thornton UK Limited

Alvarez & Marsal

Leonard Curtis Business Recovery

James Cowper Kreston

MBI Coakley Restructuring and Insolvency

RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

Central Bank of Bahrain

Property litigation Tier 1

Jointly led by Peter Levaggi and David HainesCharles Russell Speechlys LLP's property litigation department combines 'exceptional legal talent with the sheen of a cheerful can-do attitude'. It generates a regular flow of both commercial and residential landlord and tenant disputes, and also has experience of property insolvency, leasehold enfranchisement and compulsory purchase order claims. Richard Flenley is a name to note.


Good at listening, tactful when dealing with the other side and always puts the client at ease‘.

Charles Russell Speechlys has a full-service property litigation team capable of handling disputes ranging from landlord and tenant to complex claims involving banking elements‘.

David Haines is without competition at both the national level and regionally; he is super bright, a great communicator and has a legal brain second to none‘.

Natalie Deuchar is bright, ambitious and on a stellar trajectory. She has a great rapport with clients and can think outside the box when unusual solutions are required‘.

Richard Flenley is able, personable and able gets down to work without a fuss‘.

Peter Levaggi is a great strategist‘.

Key clients

County Enforcement Group

CitySprint (UK) Limited

Charles Terence Estates Limited

NEC (UK) Limited

Bard Group

The Ernest Cook Trust

HW Fisher

Save the Children

National Crime Agency

wagamama Limited

Commercial property: Kent, Surrey, Sussex Tier 2

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP offers the gamut of real estate expertise to clients across areas including retail and leisure, charities, industrial and energy sectors. Ingrid Saffin has notable experience of complex transactions in the healthcare sector and also advises investors and corporate occupiers. Gavin Partridge joined the team in April 2019 from Mundays LLP.


The team came highly recommended and did not disappoint.’


Key clients

Nike Retail BV/Nike (UK)

Converse Retail (UK) and Converse Netherlands BV

Octopus Property


CareTech Holdings Plc

Optima Care Limited

Dentex Healthcare Group

Pivotal Housing Group

Juno Health UK and Bregal Freshstream

Westlin Bearsted

Corporate and commercial: Kent, Surrey, Sussex Tier 2

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP attracts clients from a broad range of industries and has an impressive roster of healthcare, pharmacy and veterinary clients, as well as private equity houses. It provides a full service in addition to its corporate expertise, working in tandem with its London colleagues. Geoffrey Sparks leads the team; Tim Jenkins is especially noted for his healthcare focus and Catherine Drew's broad corporate expertise includes the healthcare sector. Associate Jonathan Steele is noted for his client handling abilities and practical advice and Rebecca Burford is highly rated.


Very accessible, responsive, measured and adept at explaining complex legal issues in straightforward terms, providing an excellent service to their clients. A London-quality practice in Guildford.’

They are technically very competent and they have particular expertise in pharmacy matters. They offer a genuine alternative to the London marketplace.

Jonathan Steele is especially good with clients and a joy to work with. He is very hardworking, easily accessible at all times, and delivers high-quality, practical advice.’

Tim Jenkins has an ingrained culture of practicality, whilst giving very sound legal advice.’

Tim Jenkins has unique experience on pharmacy matters and is able to cut through the regulation to find pragmatic solutions.’

Key clients

discoverIE Group plc

Unique Secure


London Irish Holdings

Goizper S.Coop

Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain

Sellers of Xstrahl Limited and Phoenix Objectives

Goddard Veterinary Group

Juno Health

Trusted Housesitters

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Kent, Surrey, Sussex Tier 2

Sally Ashford heads the non-contentious private client team at the 'excellent all round firmCharles Russell Speechlys LLP and has extensive experience assisting high-net-worth individuals, family business owners in relation to their estates and succession planning, including inheritance tax mitigation and trusts. The practice also undertakes Court of Protection matters including deputyship and statutory will applications and works with colleagues in other practice areas such as corporate, litigation and real estate. It also provides a range of services to major charities including Cancer Research UK. Senior associate Gareth Walliss is noted for his tax and trust planning skills.

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 3

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP advises charitable trusts, charitable incorporated organisations, royal charter companies and community benefit societies on all areas of commercial, employment and real estate matters. The firm has significant experience advising military, religious and educational charities as well acting for individuals on all aspects of charitable giving and philanthropic activities. Guildford- based Duncan Elson is the main contact.

Debt recovery Tier 3

The debt recovery practice of Charles Russell Speechlys LLP sits within the commercial litigation department and focuses on disputed and international debt claims on behalf of clients in the automotive, media, financial services and property sectors, where the team handles contentious matters related to licensing, unpaid fees, finance default and service charge arrears claims. Litigation partner Jamie Cartwright is the lead adviser.

Key clients

Fiat, Chrysler and Jeep

Walkers Chocolates

British Car Auctions

We Buy Any Car


Professional negligence Tier 3

The lawyers in Charles Russell Speechlys LLP's largely claimant-based practice frequently litigate claims against city-based insurers and within the accountancy and financial services sector. Stephen Burns and David Savage are crucial figures in the team and have recently acted for Icon 1992 in a dispute against an insurance broker pertaining to the recovery of sums. Duncan Elson is another name to note, and has vast expertise in trust and estate-based litigation.

Key clients

Cancer Research UK

Royal National Institute of Blind People

Zenium Technology Partners Limited

Lab Lateral Limited

Icon 1992 Limited

Charles Russell Speechlys is known as a leading adviser within the world of dynamic, privately owned businesses and among the world’s leading creators and owners of private wealth and their families. Major corporates and institutions find the firm’s more considered and personal approach a refreshing alternative to larger, conventional business law firms.

Charles Russell Speechlys is a law firm headquartered in London with offices in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Hong Kong.

The firm: The firm is focused on securing the growth of its clients. With an unusually broad range of skills and experience across the full spectrum of business and personal needs, the firm has a wide perspective, clear insight and a strongly commercial long-term view.

Types of work undertaken: 

Banking and finance: focusing on borrower work in all sectors, particularly real estate finance and projects, bank lender work in the Middle East and elsewhere, and non-bank lender work, including mezzanine finance, corporate finance support, and structured finance.

Commercial: focusing on complex work from corporate organisations requiring regular commercial contracting support, including compliance and corporate risk, EU, competition and trade, IP transactions, and licensing and outsourcing.

Commercial dispute resolution: undertaking all types of litigation, arbitration and mediation both in the UK and internationally, and has particular expertise in commercial disputes, corporate recovery and insolvency, judicial review and fraud.

Construction, engineering and projects: focusing on commercial clients across a wide range of business sectors, but with a particular emphasis on real estate developers, property investment companies, contractors, and major engineering consultancies. The firm also advises high-net-worth individuals when undertaking high-value residential construction projects.

Corporate: advising on a wide range of issues, including flotations, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity and venture capital financings. Specialist teams provide advice on all types of commercial contracts and outsourcing arrangements and have particular expertise in data protection issues, competition matters and tax.

Corporate recovery and insolvency: undertaking both contentious and transactional work for insolvency practitioners, often with an international component.

Employment, pensions and immigration: providing corporate clients with strategic insights and practical solutions for all their employment, pensions and immigration issues as well as advising senior individuals on a personal basis.

Family: advising individuals and intermediaries on matters concerning family breakdown, children and relationship agreements.

Financial services and tax: assisting clients with their everyday regulatory and legal issues, as well as focusing on advising on transactional and strategic matters.

Healthcare: providing a comprehensive range of transactional, regulatory and advisory expertise to deliver an integrated service to clients in the social care, primary care, dental and veterinary sectors.

Intellectual property: advising on all types of contentious and non-contentious work, including copyright, patents, trade marks, registered designs, database rights, passing off and confidential information.

Private property: working with international banks, private investment companies, and private individuals from the UK and overseas, advising on UK and international investment property transactions.

Property litigation: advising major institutional land and estate-owning clients, in particular in London, the South East, and the South West and for property insolvency-related work.

Real estate: advising on every aspect of commercial property, including the structuring and financing of property transactions, planning a development, advising on landlord/tenant issues or managing a property portfolio.

Tax, trusts and succession: advising individuals, trustees, beneficiaries, entrepreneurs and landowners on the establishment and management of trusts and on the tax implications associated with the establishment and running of the structure.

Other offices: Doha, Dubai, Geneva, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Manama, Paris, Zurich.

Department Name Email Telephone
Senior Partner Christopher Page
Managing Partner Simon Ridpath
Charities and not-for-profit Sarah Rowley
Construction and infrastructure David Savage
Financial services Jon Bond
Healthcare Michael Lingens
Healthcare Noel Wardle
Private wealth Piers Master
Real Estate Simon Ewing
Retail and leisure Edward Craig
Sport Jason Saiban
TMT Mark Bailey
TMT Mark Howard
Commercial dispute resolution Stewart Hey
Corporate Malcolm MacDougall
Corporate restructuring and insolvency James Hyne
Employment, pensions and immigration Nick Hurley
Family Sarah Higgins
Intellectual property Mary Bagnall
Cheltenham Richard Norton
Doha Simon Green
Dubai Simon Green
Geneva Michael Wells-Greco
Guildford Duncan Elson
Hong Kong Tom Shaw
Luxembourg David Louis
Manama Patrick Gearon
Paris Frederic Jeannin
Zurich Mark Summers
Photo Name Position Profile
 Shona Alexander  photo Shona Alexander
 Sally Ashford  photo Sally Ashford
 Katie Bewick  photo Katie Bewick
 Rebecca Burford  photo Rebecca Burford
 Stephen Burns  photo Stephen Burns
 Jamie Cartwright  photo Jamie Cartwright
 Emily Chalkley        photo Emily Chalkley      
 Felicity Chapman  photo Felicity Chapman
 Roger Elford  photo Roger Elford
 Duncan Elson  photo Duncan Elson
 Samantha Ewing  photo Samantha Ewing
 Richard Flenley   photo Richard Flenley 
 David Haines  photo David Haines
 Charlotte Healy  photo Charlotte Healy
 James Hyne  photo James Hyne
 Tim Jenkins  photo Tim Jenkins
 Andrew Keeley  photo Andrew Keeley
 Peter Levaggi  photo Peter Levaggi
 Daniel Moore   photo Daniel Moore 
 Gavin Partridge  photo Gavin Partridge
 Prav Reddy  photo Prav Reddy
 William Rollin  photo William Rollin
 Ingrid Saffin  photo Ingrid Saffin
 David Savage  photo David Savage
 Geoffrey Sparks  photo Geoffrey Sparks
 Jonathan Steele  photo Jonathan Steele
 Gareth Walliss  photo Gareth Walliss
 Karen Wilsher  photo Karen Wilsher
Number of UK partners : 145
Total UK fee earners : 510

At Charles Russell Speechlys, we believe in creating equal opportunities for everyone. Not only do we want to attract and keep the best talent, we want to create a culture and workplace that allows individuals to thrive irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, nationality, colour, race, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, age, disability, or background. By working with people from different backgrounds or with different experiences, we get a different perspective and that helps us to think more broadly, question more and share our skills, knowledge, and experience as part of a collective intelligence.

We believe that creating a diverse and inclusive workplace allows our people to be the best they can be, and do the best for our clients who can expect a firm that understands their needs and delivers advice that considers their commercial and personal needs.

Firm networks

Our Diversity Partner Emma Bartlett is supported by a full time Diversity & Inclusion Manager and four active employee networks. The networks focus on events and initiatives to promote and raise awareness relating to their specific area but also in collaboration across the networks. The networks are also involved in firm projects and assist with reviewing policies and procedures to ensure they are inclusive.

Our networks are:

· CAPability (Collaborating And Promoting ability)

· Gender


· Religion, Belief and Ethnicity

Within the CAPability network, there is a Carers Group and a strong focus on mental health. Age-related initiatives fall within the remit of all networks.

The network initiatives vary from year to year, but achievements and milestones so far include an increase of 98 places on the Stonewall Equality Index, training of over 60+ mental health champions and 10 mental health first aiders, launch of a #ThisIsMe video with seven representatives at the firm talking about their experience of mental health issues, formal multi-faith rooms introduced, employability events, launch of a transgender policy and gender neutral toilets available in all UK offices, and the launch of a new mentoring scheme.

Diversity & Inclusion programmes

We are committed to further developing our Diversity & Inclusion Strategy and identify key, longer term, programmes to help us achieve that. For example, our Achieving Balance initiative aims improve the gender balance at Partnership level and in leadership roles across the firm, while our social mobility programme aims to extend and develop our engagement with individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to increase their employability and to further improve the diversity of our employees.

For more information regarding our initiatives, or vacancies, please check our website,

The Lex 100 Verdict

A 'prestigious firm with a human side', Charles Russell Speechlys offers a 'unique mix of private client and commercial work'. The London-headquartered firm also has offices in Cheltenham and Guildford and is a 'market leader in sports, media and technology law'. Trainees are 'really valued' and 'encouraged to take on responsibility' by 'partners who do what they can to help you get the most out of your training contract'. Indeed, colleagues will 'usually find time to go through work you've done and advise how you can improve'. There is a 'good work/life balance in most departments' thanks to a 'positive approach to a life outside of work'. All this without compromising at all on high-quality work, 'often with an international element'. Client secondments are also on offer; one trainee particularly enjoyed their time at ITV, where they were 'exposed to interesting work across a variety of disciplines' and even 'managed to spot a few celebs'. Some respondents reported 'a bit of a divide between the regional offices and London'. Others pointed to the fact that there are 'limited training seats in some of the areas which are strongly marketed by the firm'. 'Working long hours on a deal which then fell through' was lamented, whilst 'signing the wrong part of a document and the client having to come back in to re-sign' was embarrassing. Proud moments included 'realising I was the team's go-to on a specific technical area of law which I had researched' and 'meeting counsel on my own and attending a hearing'. For a friendly firm with a 'breadth of practice areas' where everyone 'wants you to succeed', consider Charles Russell Speechlys.