Sternberg Reed LLP > Grays, England > Firm Profile

Sternberg Reed LLP
RM17 6LU

Crime, fraud and licensing > General crime and fraud Tier 1

Sternberg Reed LLP‘s Romford-based crime team has repositioned itself from handling volume legal aid work to focusing on private instructions and high-cost and complex legal aid cases. Co-head and ‘stand-out individual’ Richard Cooper is qualified as a higher court advocate, while fellow co-head Ben Thomas is described as ‘one of the best defence solicitors in practice today’ and offers expert advice on a range of serious offenses, including fraud, murder, hijacking, and drug trafficking charges. Another key contact is ‘exceptional lawyer’ Rhiannon Cole, who offers niche expertise in prison and extradition law.

Practice head(s):

Richard Cooper; Ben Thomas

Other key lawyers:


‘Sternberg Reed are a top notch outfit who are everything a criminal defence firm should be.’

‘Rhiannon Cole is an exceptional lawyer who provides incisive advice to clients and enviable support to counsel.’

‘The team is ‘boxing above its weight’, based in Essex but regularly taking on and conducting cases in London. Its expanding offering means that it can offer its first-rate service in large and complex cases at central London courts, as well as serious crime in the capital and regionally.’

‘Richard Cooper is a stand-out individual. He has bags of wisdom and experience.’

‘The practice is particularly well resourced and has highly experienced people working at every level and in every department.’

‘Ben Thomas is a highly experienced partner and a stand-out in the fields of crime and financial crime. His intellect and intelligence are exceptional and his ability to absorb and make sense of extremely complex details and transactions make him one of the best defence solicitors in practice today.’

‘A dedicated team who provide a highly efficient service to their lay clients.’

‘Richard Cooper stands out as one of the most thorough and hard working solicitors. A real leader.’

Private client > Family: Essex Tier 3

Sternberg Reed LLP‘s ‘dedicated, hardworking, and always available’ family child law department is noted for its knowledge of private family law, including divorces, financial relief, child arrangements, and prenuptial agreements. A standout out feature is the team’s expertise in child abduction cases and leave to remove applications. Barking-based Soulla Kokkinos leads the team, and is an expert in cases involving domestic abuse and forced marriage. Romford-based Rebecca Viola heads up the private family team, and is particularly noted for her experience working with high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. Julian Beard has vast experience in handling complex financial disputes, while Francesca Clay specialises in children matters, and has taken over a variety of matters from Gordon Reed, who retired in April 2023.

Practice head(s):

Soulla Kokkinos; Rebecca Viola

Other key lawyers:

Julian Beard; Andrew Crossley; Francesca Clay


‘The team is diverse. I would say the unique quality of the team is that they are able to provide excellent legal knowledge with compassionate client care.’

‘Soulla Kokkinos and Francesca Clay are both stand-out partners in this firm.’

Soulla Kokkinos is efficient, she is excellent at communicating with clients and keeping them informed of developments with their case. She also provides clear and realistic advice which clients appreciate.’

‘The service I have received is nothing short of outstanding, from the first consultation to the present day.’

‘Julian Beard offers an exceptional service, and his extensive knowledge is really impressive.’

‘Strong family law knowledge. Excellent client care. Always looking for practical solutions to clients’ needs.’

‘Rebecca Viola was my solicitor, and I cannot praise her enough. She not only made sure my case was so in-depth with evidence to make it impossible to lose, but she also made herself available anytime I needed. Rebecca has become someone I call a friend and I know that I can call on her if needed.’

‘Soulla Kokkinos’ knowledge of family law is extraordinary and her leadership within the team is what drives its success.’

Sternberg Reed was founded in 1976 and was predominantly a conveyancing practice which expanded to take on a broad range of legal work including criminal law, family, personal injury, employment, housing, mental health, wills and probate, and general litigation.

The firm: In recent years the firm has acquired several high-profile criminal law practices, including David Charnley & Co, Kelly Solicitors and TNT solicitors. It is now one of the largest criminal defence practices and family practices in East London and retains the services of a number of distinguished crime advocates including Ken Carr and Martine Taube.

The firm continues to make a number of high-profile appointments and has recently restructured its senior management team to include a new head of operations, Frances Anderson, senior lawyer and associate partner with the firm working alongside its chief executive Kelly Rotheram, who was previously a member of the senior management team at Russell, Jones and Walker, now Slater & Gordon.

Types of work undertaken: The firm undertakes a full range of legal work, enabling it to cater for all clients’ needs. It has particular specialisms in domestic and international crime, family and care work.

Sternberg Reed mainly acts for individuals but also undertakes panel work for selected local authorities and government bodies.

The firm is particularly well known for its serious crime practice. Its crime team also has a particular specialism in cases with an international element.

The family team are regarded as experts in complex financial matters and care work.

Other offices: Barking, Romford, and Grays

Department Name Email Telephone
Chief executive Kelly Rotheram
Criminal Ben Thomas
Family Soulla Kokkinos
Conveyancing Raj Sharma
Housing and civil litigation Mohinder Gill
Employment Mohinder Gill
Wills, probate and trust Mohinder Gill
Private Family Law Rebecca Viola
Family Francesca Clay
Photo Name Position Profile
Lauren Casey photo Lauren Casey Trainee Solicitor
Lauren Casey photo Lauren Casey Trainee Solicitor
Francesca  Clay photo Francesca Clay Partner and Deputy Head of the Department.
Rebecca  Viola photo Rebecca Viola Partner and Head of the Private Law team
Number of UK partners : 10
Number of other UK fee-earners : 47
Bengla/ Bengali
Children panel members