Firm Profile > Debenhams Ottaway > St Albans, England

Debenhams Ottaway

Family: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 1

Debenhams Ottaway’s family department offers a fully-integrated services to high-net-worth clients, working in close connections with the private wealth, commercial, property and employment teams. The practice specialises in all aspects of family law, including complex financial cases and representation in divorce proceedings, nuptial agreements as well as children cases involving separating couples and often with international elements. Practice head Helen Young and associate Natalie Lester are recommended.


Every person I dealt with was friendly and helpful‘.

Friendly, accessible and very knowledgeable‘.

The family team is professional and dynamic‘.

The family team is one of the strongest outside London and holds its own in all cases‘.

Helen Young leads a very good team‘.

Helen Young is perfectly at ease dealing with multi-million pound cases, against specialist central London firms. She offers reassuring, practical and measured advice‘.

Natalie Lester is sensitive and caring‘.

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

The private client department at Debenhams Ottaway assists clients with inheritance tax and estate planning, setting up and administering trusts and probate and estate administration. The team is also experienced in life planning advice, including lasting Powers of Attorney, Court of Protection and professional deputy services, and elderly care including the protection of vulnerable adults. The client base is made up of generations of wealthy families, as well as young professionals, celebrities, entrepreneurs and business owners. Managing partner Susan Glenholme heads the practice. Claire Sharp, Nicholas Turner and senior lawyer Rachel Hyndman are other key contacts.

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 2

Debenhams Ottaway's integrated, multi-disciplinary team of trusts, company, employment and property law specialists advise a mix of local and national organisations such as the St Alban’s Citizen Advice Bureau and the International Society for Krishan Consciousness (Hare Krishna). Nicholas Turner advises charitable organisations on all aspects of their operations and is particularly experienced in formations, trustee issues, altering trusts and advising on Charity Commission schemes. Commercial property lawyers Ruth Boulton and Jonathan Foy are also of note, as is associate James Brawn.

Key clients

Hubbard Will Trust

Pavyer Trust

Commercial litigation: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 2

Debenhams Ottaway’s team has strong expertise in contentious insolvency, professional negligence and IP disputes. Cases from the technology and construction areas are on the rise. The practice is headed by insolvency expert Luke HarrisonJuliet Schalker is the name to note for professional negligence work, while senior associate Rosie Patterson is recommended for her experience in patent disputes, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry.

Key clients

Pret a Manger

Fairgate Development Ltd

Grant Thornton

Griffins Insolvency Practitioners

Moore Stephens LLP

The Chartered Institute of Marketing

F&M Investments Ltd

Menzies LLP

Valentine & Co

Scheidt & Bachmann

Portas Agency Ltd

Commercial property: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 2

Debenhams Ottaway is well versed is a wide range of real estate matters, including landlord and tenant work, property development, sales and purchases of owner-occupied and investment properties and secured lending. The practice has specific expertise in the ecclesiastical, charity, banking and hospitality sectors, as well as in working with local councils. Ruth Boulton from the Radlett office and St Albans-based Jonathan Foy jointly head the practice. Senior associate Neil Mercer is another name to note.

Key clients

CVR Global

High net worth individuals based in North London

Berry Recruitment Group

Brighton Limited / Finding Fabulous LLP

New Era Fuels Limited

Spiritland Limited

Acorn Braintree Limited

Aitchison Rafferty Group

Crohn’s and Colitis UK – a registered charity in England & Wales

McGowan Group

Amoriono Group

Employment: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 2

Debenhams Ottaway’s employment team assists corporate, owner-managed and family businesses and SMEs with the gamut of employment law-related matters, including disciplinary and grievance issues, redundancy and restructuring, Employment Tribunal representation, settlement agreements and restrictive covenants. The practice also advises individuals, particularly at the senior/board level, and works with a number of independent schools, care homes and charities in the Hertfordshire and north London area. Louise Attrup is practice head and associate Michael Kerrigan is another name to note.

Key clients

Brook Street

Corporate and commercial: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 3

Debenhams Ottaway's corporate work in the St Albans' office focuses on mergers and acquisitions, shareholder and investment agreements, joint ventures and share schemes. The team advises SMEs, larger corporate businesses, banks and a number of high-profile organisations and has particularly strong experience in the healthcare, charity and recruitment sectors. Louise Attrup heads the business services team, of which the corporate sub-team, led by senior associate Andrew Yates, is part.


Team members are commercial, approachable and easy to deal with‘.

They are always very clear in their position with sound and commercial justifications‘.

We regularly refer matters to Andrew Yates when we are in a position of conflict and have no hesitation in recommending him to colleagues, clients or personally‘.

They are a local firm that provide sound UK-based legal advice to our UK businesses‘.

We are able to get a quick response to our advice needs‘.



Key clients

Jeeves Holdings Ltd

Veruth Holdings Limited

Indigozest Limited

Europa Components & Equipment PLC

Personal injury: claimant Tier 3

The personal injury team at Debenhams Ottaway has a strong focus on work-related accidents such as slip, trips and falls, and also has experience handling liability claims which range from low to medium value. Team leader Howard Kent has extensive experience in areas such as complex injuries arising from accidents in the workplace, including cases that feature chronic pain and spinal injuries.

Debenhams Ottaway is the largest firm in St Albans. It is a multi-service law firm based in Hertfordshire, known for delivering outstanding service and award-winning legal advice to its clients. The firm is proud of its past, progressive in its outlook and unrelenting in its dedication to growth through doing more for its people, its personal and business clients and its communities.

The firm: Debenhams Ottaway has celebrated its 250th anniversary recently. Its long and successful history as a leading adviser to families and individuals is now complemented by its well established commercial team, which works with medium-sized businesses, owner-managed businesses and entrepreneurs, helping them grow and develop.

The firm has a strong and loyal client base, with 99% of clients surveyed saying they would use Debenhams Ottaway again and recommend it to family and friends. Clients include individuals and families, medium-sized businesses, owner-managed businesses, entrepreneurs, referrers and other professionals. Debenhams Ottaway regularly works with clients in the charity, healthcare, private wealth, banking, education and recruitment sectors and has dedicated teams working with these industries. Clients are based in Hertfordshire, London and across the rest of the UK, and include AXA PPP Healthcare Limited; Brook Street (UK) Limited; Crohn’s and Colitis UK; Fujitsu General (UK) Co. Limited; Life Opportunities Trust; McNicholas Construction Services Limited; St Albans Diocesan Board of Finance; St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust, St Albans School and Luxottica.

Types of work undertaken: Debenhams Ottaway offers advice on private wealth, family, residential and commercial property, corporate and commercial, employment, litigation and dispute resolution.

Its award-winning private wealth team advises on wills, trusts, inheritance tax planning and probate. It often deals with complex and wealthy estates, including those with foreign assets.

The family team is particularly well known for providing legal advice on high-net-worth and complex financial divorce proceedings and other family/relationship matters.

The corporate and commercial team advises on the entire business lifecycle including acquisitions and disposals, share schemes and corporate finance.

The employment team acts primarily for employers, advising medium-sized businesses, manager-owned businesses and entrepreneurs across the UK. It has particular experience in data theft and restrictive covenants.

The property team works with a wide range of clients throughout the UK, including developers, property investors, major corporations, public bodies, schools, owner occupiers, retailers, landlords, tenants and entrepreneurs.

The litigation team works for high-profile clients and is known for taking on heavyweight litigation against much larger City firms.

The charity team works with charities and not-for-profits, from small trusts to national charities, advising on issues relating to both their legal needs and regulatory frameworks.

The healthcare team helps ensure care homes, doctors, dentists and pharmacists are legally compliant and assists with all legal aspects of the acquisition and disposal of healthcare businesses.

The private wealth team advises high-net-worth families and individuals on the legal aspects of personal wealth management, finding creative legal solutions to protect and manage their wealth now and safeguard it for the future.

The education team helps senior leaders from education institutions with the legal challenges they face in employment, property and planning, business and financial management.

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing partner/ Private client Susan Glenholme
Commercial property Jonathan Foy
Commercial property Ruth Boulton
Employment Louise Attrup
Dispute resolution/litigation Luke Harrison
Family Helen Young
Residential conveyancing Nigel Drake
Personal injury Howard Kent
Photo Name Position Profile
 Louise Attrup  photo Louise Attrup
 Nigel Drake  photo Nigel Drake
 Jonathan Foy  photo Jonathan Foy
 Susan Glenholme  photo Susan Glenholme
 Luke Harrison  photo Luke Harrison
 Denis Keegan  photo Denis Keegan
 Howard Kent  photo Howard Kent
 Claire Sharp  photo Claire Sharp
 Nicholas Turner  photo Nicholas Turner
 Helen Young  photo Helen Young
Number of UK partners : 11
Number of other UK fee-earners : 50