Taylor Walton LLP > St Albans, England > Firm Profile

Taylor Walton LLP

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 1

The ‘fantastic‘ team of ‘highly skilled‘ practitioners at Taylor Walton LLP acts for a diverse client base of farmers and landowners, entrepreneurs and charities. Alex Drake heads up the practice from St Albans, while Steven Hamilton and Alison Voyce lead the team from Harpenden. Drake has long-standing expertise in assisting high-net-worth individuals, providing ‘invaluable‘ advice on inheritance tax and estate planning matters, in addition to grants of probate applications and estate administration. The ‘very skilful‘ Hamilton has broad expertise spanning lifetime tax planning, trust administration, and lasting powers of attorney; while Voyce utilises her ‘excellent knowledge of the law‘ to represent a number of public figures and farmers on succession planning and probate issues.

Practice head(s):

Alex Drake; Steve Hamilton; Alison Voyce

Other key lawyers:

Zoe Sivelle


‘They were fantastic from day one, they explained and guided me through legal matters in a patient and transparent way, all decisions were made with upmost care and thought. I have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone.’

‘Excellent manner with clients. Ability to explain complex issues in a clear and straightforward way. Friendly, approachable, flexible, knowledgeable.’

‘I cannot praise Steve Hamilton highly enough. His calm, reassuring manner is great, plus he can explain things clearly without being patronising. He also seems very kind and considerate, and has great empathy with one’s predicament. Needless to say he is very skilful, Steven is a credit to his profession! I’m very grateful for his help and regard him as my go-to solicitor!’

‘Steve Hamilton provides an excellent probate, trust and tax service. I would not hesitate to recommend Steve and Taylor Walton. Steve understands and deals with private clients on an empathetic and understanding basis, and provides clear and precise advice as required.’

‘Alex Drake’s expertise and advice are invaluable at what can be a difficult time.’

‘All individuals are highly skilled and in every experience I have had with different members of the team, I have found each to be highly proficient, understanding, and empathetic.’

‘For me the great strength of this practice is the personal relationship I have been able to develop with the professionals I have worked with. I feel that they know me and my needs well, while never straying from being wholly professional at all times. I have absolute confidence in their ability to handle all matters that I require their assistance on.’

‘Alison Voyce has always been very efficient and she has an excellent knowledge of the law. I have found all her advice to be excellent. I am very impressed with her knowledge of the law, her quick uptake of any situation and her ability to quickly determine the correct path to take.’

Work highlights

  • Advising a high-net-worth family on options for organising their personal affairs and inheritance tax mitigation, including setting up a family discretionary trust and related deed of appointment of a revocable life interest to hold shares in the family trading company shares with various family and charitable beneficiaries.
  • Advising on the administration of the estate of a wealthy individual, who died overseas during lockdown leaving assets in various jurisdictions, including establishing the domicile of the widow for IHT purposes prior to applying for the Grant of Probate, and also advising on the optimum treatment of various family trusts.
  • Advising on the high-value estate of a wealthy retired businessman and a number of lifetime trusts as well as advising the executors and family members in connection with their own estate planning.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 2

In Luton, Taylor Walton LLP attracts a variety of clients from the education and hospitality sectors, and often advises accountancy practices on acquisitions and sales. The ‘fantasticSimon Hughes heads up the practice and frequently assists management teams and investment funds with joint ventures, equity investments, and buyouts, while Jeremy Brockis is proficient in handling the buy-back of shares and shareholder agreements. Peter Kouwenberg, who was promoted to partner in July 2022, has broad knowledge and ‘incredible‘ understanding, spanning commercial contracts and the verification of overseas entities.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Brockis; Peter Kouwenberg; Simon Hughes


‘Anyone looking for a professional practice that do what they say they are going to do, will enjoy working with Taylor Walton.’

‘Jeremy Brockis clearly explains what actions need to be taken.’

‘Taylor Walton covers all areas of the legal world that you require, along with plenty you don’t foresee! Taylor Walton are a great team who not only provide a highly professional service, but are also very real. Very easy to bond with and develop strong working relationships.’

‘Simon Hughes offers the highest level of professional standards and advice. His many years of experience provide practical and efficient resolutions. He delivers excellent service and has a great sense of humour.’

‘Simon Hughes in particular is fantastic. He combines common sense with professionalism in a way that puts me at ease and inspired confidence. Highly recommended.’

‘Very approachable team who always seem to have time to discuss issues that feel huge, finding the best possible resolution for any and all issues.’

‘Peter Kouwenberg is incredible at understanding what I was trying to achieve. He was also patient enough to fully explain everything to me once completed.’

Key clients

American Iron & Metals Inc.


F&R Cawley

Campaign for Real Ale

Flat Iron

British Board of Agrement

Nat West

Villa Plus

Bank of Ireland

Capita Group plc

IRIS Business Software

Cross Pens Inc

Comline Auto Parts

Pieroth Wines


Private client > Family: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 2

Predominantly based in Harpenden, Taylor Walton LLP‘s team has ‘a wealth of experience and expertise‘ in private children, TOLATA, and domestic violence issues. The ‘very experienced and pragmaticBen Twitchen heads up the practice, and has vast expertise in advising on the financial aspects of divorces, while associate Emily Woodhouse handles private law children matters. In St Albans, ‘powerhouseOlive McCarthy regularly advises business owners and shareholder directors, and has ‘vast knowledge‘ of farming divorce issues, while Will Mercer has ample experience in the dissolution of civil partnerships and cohabitation issues involving farming assets. Laura Woolard is recommended for her capabilities in sensitive cases concerning abusive or hostile environments. Tamara Glanvill joined the practice from Fullers Family Law in September 2022, contributing her expertise in the preparation of parenting plans.

Practice head(s):

Ben Twitchen


‘They have a strong family team with leading family experts. They collaborate and work well together as a team and offer their clients a one-stop shop.’

‘Olive McCarthy is a powerhouse. She combines expertise and a real breadth of experience with empathy and energy. Clients warm to her no-nonsense approach and benefit from her toughness. She is imaginative and determined, and always keeps the client’s interests at the absolute forefront of her thinking.’

‘Ben Twitchen is very experienced and pragmatic. I’ve appreciated his coaching and the way he structures our approach.’

‘Will Mercer runs an efficient, ethical team. He provides realistic quality advice to his clients. He is easy to work with and is someone you can call and have a constructive discussion with to narrow the issues and help both parties.’

‘They work brilliantly as team and I have and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them. Extremely professional and courteous at all times and of course very knowledgeable. This firm has a wealth of experience and expertise.’

‘I have a lot of faith in Olive McCarthy, who has been my solicitor over the last 15 years. Her unbiased approach is refreshing. She stands out and is confident, thorough and attentive in every aspect of her work. She is both friendly and accessible yet remains highly professional. I am grateful for her insightful advice and vast knowledge.’

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 3

James Carpenter leads the Luton-based practice at Taylor Walton LLP, which houses a ‘dependable strong team of skilled professionals‘, who have broad experience spanning Inheritance Act claims and IP disputes, and handle the pursuit of injunctive relief for property developers. Carpenter has a great deal of experience in advising sole traders and private individuals on contentious probate, partnership disputes, and professional negligence issues, and the ‘concise, unequivocal and extremely capable’ Saljuq Haider is particularly adept at representing sub-contractors in construction disputes and corporate debt recovery cases.

Practice head(s):

James Carpenter

Other key lawyers:

Saljuq Haider; Katarina Morgan


‘Strength in depth with good quality lawyers at all levels of the firm.’

‘The team are very communicative and provide clear instructions. They liaise well with outside parties and keep you advised of progress in matters you are involved with.’

‘James Carpenter is very good at explaining how things will unfold, allaying my fears and almost everything he said would happen did happen – that made the whole experience much easier to deal with and plan for.’

‘Immediate response and exemplary communication. A high level of client confidence is immediately provided – most reassuring at difficult times. A dependable strong team of skilled professionals.’

‘Saljuq Haider has a talent for identifying the wisest route through any problem. He is concise, unequivocal, and extremely capable. His approach to matters is direct and clearly stated. He is quite simply the person you wish you could have found earlier in life. Saljuq has an undeviating desire to rectify injustice coupled with a realistic, efficient, attitude to the client. He is the man you would want on your side when confronted with difficulty.’

‘Katarina Morgan is the stand out up and coming solicitor. She gives clients excellent well rounded advice that is commercially well thought out.’

Employment > Employment: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 3

The ‘excellent‘ team at Taylor Walton LLP dispenses advice to corporates in the retail, logistics and engineering sectors, on matters including business immigration issues and holiday pay matters. Alec Colson heads up the Luton-based practice, utilising his longstanding expertise in acting for both employers and employees in discrimination claims. Rated by clients as ‘the perfect solicitor‘, Nicola Smyrl often advises on the employment aspects of corporate transactions, including TUPE issues.

Practice head(s):

Alec Colson

Other key lawyers:


‘My experience of the practice has been excellent. From the outset, I felt that my case was listened to and understood, and that I was in steady hands.’

‘Alec Colson has really stands out, representing me with a calm humour that very much puts me at ease. When I first made contact I felt that he listened, had patience and very quickly understood the key issues.’

‘Their in-depth knowledge enables them to provide sound legal advice time and time again. Added to this, the personal level of service they provide each time is second to none.’

‘Alec’s ability to keep good lines of communication with counsel and the client stands out for me. He is sensitive to client emotions arising when directors of smaller companies fall out. He has a good appreciation of the way in which relationships as well as technical law are the foundation of many employment cases.’

‘They provide excellent everyday employment law support. There is always someone available to help with a query and communication is excellent. They have a vast range of experience and the team is able to deal with and advise on a wide range of issues where we have sought advice.’

‘Individuals in the firm all have excellent subject knowledge and therefore provide excellent advice. Someone is always available when needed and communication on their availability is strong. We are never left with unresolved issues, they will always deliver what is promised.’

‘Nicola Smyrl exemplifies the perfect solicitor, she was understanding, but always managed to keep us on-track. Nicola is by far the best solicitor I have dealt with and I have recommended Taylor Walton, and Nicola in particular to many friends and colleagues.’

‘The service we receive has been thorough and proactive.’

Real estate > Commercial property: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 3

In Luton, the ‘very efficient‘ team at Taylor Walton LLP has ‘great knowledge‘ of leasehold extensions and enfranchisement work, in addition to land and property development issues. Practice head James Cottrell frequently acts for developers, having ‘excellent knowledge‘ of site financings, disposals and acquisitions. Dermot Carey has longstanding expertise in option, promotion and overage agreements, in addition to land and site assembly issues; while the ‘truly exceptionalJames Khakpour-Smith frequently advises overseas traders and property investors on commercial acquisitions and corporate support issues from the St Albans office.

Practice head(s):

James Cottrell

Other key lawyers:


‘James Khakpour-Smith is a truly exceptional property lawyer whose insight into a client’s interests and attention to detail is second to none. The go to lawyer for those wishing to protect their investment property portfolio.’

‘The team all work together and have an interest in the work they are doing for their clients by all being involved.’

‘Know what is required and deal with everything quickly and efficiently. They are very efficient, and have great knowledge.’

‘James Khakpour-Smith is always on hand to talk any issues through, and always finds a way for a quick resolution whenever there is an issue. James is, in short, exceptional. He goes above and beyond to get a transaction over the line.’

‘The firm cares for its clients. Their due diligence is very thorough and they are able to advise what matters are genuine risks and what issues can be taken a view on. This allows our transactions to progress efficiently.’

‘Julma Begum has been very efficient and proactive in several property transactions. I would be happy to recommend her to other developers.’

‘James Cottrell has excellent knowledge and a lovely guy.’

‘Taylor Walton LLP maintains the highest level of service. Their response time is extremely impressive. The level of expertise has been sufficient to deal with a wide variety of issues to our complete satisfaction. I simply want good professional service and that’s what Taylor Walton delivers.’

This highly respected regional firm is the trusted advisor to a diverse range of clients including FTSE 350 companies, public and private sector organisations, charities and high-net worth individuals.

The firm: The firm has a reputation for developing and investing in home-grown talent, with an exceptionally high staff retention rate and an average length of service unrivalled within the region. This approach brings with it many inherent benefits for its clients, including a continuity and depth of knowledge and expertise that is hard to replicate.

A client-centred approach to legal support has resulted in steady organic growth in recent years. The firm boasts a number of longstanding clients and referrers for whom Taylor Walton is the first choice for a range of needs, from everyday business support to untangling the most impenetrable legal issues. Working in partnership with a number of other trusted advisors such as surveyors, accountants and HR consultants, the firm seeks to provide a fully rounded, commercially focused service to its clients.

Types of work undertaken: Taylor Walton provides all the services listed here from its offices in Luton, Harpenden and St Albans to an increasingly national client base.

Real estate: The strength and depth of the team offers clients real specialisms in key areas, including in landlord and tenant work. They have seen a growing focus on work in the retail sector, with an increasingly national client base. Areas of support include development work, including site assembly, overage arrangements and extensive security lending experience in acting for lenders offering mezzanine finance in connection with commercial and residential development sites.

Commercial litigation: The team provides a level of technical expertise and quality of work unrivalled within the region including leading edge work on construction disputes, contentious probate, professional negligence and property litigation. It provides a pragmatic, proactive and effective approach to dispute resolution work, including upfront information about costs, merits/chances of success, taking a creative approach to resolving disputes other than by traditional litigation.

Corporate and commercial: Taylor Walton acts for an outstanding range of well-known and high-quality clients within the region. It regularly handles matters of a size and complexity unrivalled by others, acting for the likes of NatWest, Santander and Bank of Ireland within the banking sector, and undertaking a range of substantial acquisitions and disposals in the last year. The team offers a growing international transactions practice across multiple jurisdictions, most notably in the US, and niche skills in the areas of recovery acquisitions and accountancy practice sales and acquisitions.

Employment: The employment team has developed long-standing and highly valued relationships with its clients based on understanding its clients’ business needs and objectives. The team takes a preventative approach to employment issues ranging from dealing with day to day employment law queries including advising on disciplinary and grievance matters to outsourcing and TUPE work, incentivisation plans through to advising on discrimination issues as well as providing corporate support. The team also advises and represents clients on a full range of contentious matters, including tribunal work and dispute resolution for employers and employees.

Family: The family team is renowned renowned for taking a pragmatic approach to matters where client expectations are carefully managed from the outset to ensure achievable outcomes are attained. The team offers alternative approaches to litigation through arbitration, or the collaborative law process which enables parties to negotiate their terms of settlement round the table, avoiding costly and contentious litigation. Work includes divorce, dividing matrimonial finances, family trusts, complex disputes relating to contact and residence issues in respect of children, prenuptial agreements and cohabitee disputes relating to both children and property.

Private client: The Taylor Walton private client team is the team of choice for many clients and referrers both locally, and increasingly, from the City of London. The team takes a pragmatic approach to complex issues, working with many high-net-worth clients (including business owners and landed families), often across generations and increasingly across jurisdictions, to resolve current matters while proactively identifying areas of future support. All partners within the department have a substantial personal following and some are members of The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing Partner Dermot Carey dermot.carey@taylorwalton.co.uk 01582 731161
Head of Commercial Litigation James Carpenter james.carpenter@taylorwalton.co.uk 01582 731161
Head of Corporate Simon Hughes simon.hughes@taylorwalton.co.uk 01582 731161
Head of Employment Alec Colson alec.colson@taylorwalton.co.uk 01582 731161
Head of Family Ben Twitchen ben.twitchen@taylorwalton.co.uk 01582 731161
Head of Private Client Alex Drake alex.drake@taylorwalton.co.uk 01582 731161
Head of Real Estate James Cottrell james.cottrell@taylorwalton.co.uk 01582 731161
Residential Conveyancing Stuart Wickham stuart.wickham@taylorwalton.co.uk 01582 731161
Head of Residential Conveyancing Caroline Hume caroline.hume@taylorwalton.co.uk 01582 731161
Family Olive McCarthy olive.mccarthy@taylorwalton.co.uk 01582 731161
People and Talent Partner Stephanie Simon stephanie.simon@taylorwalton.co.uk 01582 731161
Head of Commercial Peter Kouwenberg peter.kouwenberg@taylorwalton.co.uk 01582 731161
Photo Name Position Profile
Tom Caterer photo Tom Caterer Partner
Alex Drake photo Alex Drake Partner and Head of Private Client team, specialising in wills, trusts and…
Caroline Hume photo Caroline Hume Partner
James Khakpour-Smith photo James Khakpour-Smith Partner specialising in acting for a broad spectrum of clients from large…
Olive McCarthy photo Olive McCarthy Partner & Arbitrator
Will Mercer photo Will Mercer Partner
Ben Twitchen photo Ben Twitchen Ben Twitchen is a partner and the Head of the Family Law…
Partners : 29
Solicitors : 45
Other Fee Earners : 20

At Taylor Walton we are proud to promote an environment of inclusivity and equality. We foster these strong values through the fair and respectful treatment of both our employees and our clients.

We have robust policies ensuring that we all adhere to the same high standards with regards to how we treat each other and our clients and how we each expect to be treated by others. Our office environment is built on mutual respect and we raise awareness of our expectations through regular training.

The firm is made up of unique individuals working collectively; new starters say we are supportive and approachable and our long staff length of service records demonstrate that our people like to work with us. We recognise and value talent and potential, harnessing experience and knowledge sharing. There is plenty of opportunity to learn and share skills where our age profile spans five decades. A programme of Trainee Solicitors sits alongside our Solicitor Apprenticeship programme – allowing a diverse route to qualification. Those on different career paths in other areas of the firm may be supported with study sponsorships or pursue an apprenticeship.

Hard work and talent allows our people to succeed on merit in achieving their chosen career goals. Taylor Walton is proud to see Trainee Solicitors develop into Partners and see new starters develop into long standing skilled members of the firm.

We not only feel strongly about how we behave towards our clients and each other, we proactively support the wider community with a diverse range of charitable fundraising events and regular sponsorships; supporting our local food banks, hospice care and individual charities close to our staff. Teams from Taylor Walton have scaled mountains and braved Tough Mudder to support those less fortunate.

58% of the Firm completed the SRA Legal Diversity Survey in 2021 which closed on 23 July 2021. The results are published on our website at www.taylorwalton.co.uk.