Firm Profile > Barcan+Kirby LLP > Bristol, England

Barcan+Kirby LLP

Clinical negligence: claimant Tier 1

Barcan+Kirby LLP is headed by the ‘intelligent, perceptive and thoroughRichard Harries, whose experience involves handling clinical negligence claims arising from obstetric and spinal injuries. The practice is also active in respect to fatal cases and inquests. The firm also acts on claims made on behalf of children with cerebral palsy resulting from negligence at or around the time of birth. Other clients involve elderly and vulnerable clients as well as claimants with severe injuries including those who suffered lower limb amputations and serious orthopaedic injuries.

Practice head(s):

Richard Harries


Barcan+Kirby LLP is exceptional with its depth of knowledge, customer handling skills and ability to bring in the right experts to deliver the case results needed to provide the right support

The practice delivers on time and to the highest quality of result. It remains honest and clear in terms of what can be delivered and by when

This is a well-resourced and well-supported team involving solicitors and senior solicitors with excellent experience in this field

It has real strength in depth which allows it to handle the entire range of clinical negligence cases for claimants. It is an outstanding firm, with the younger members of the firm being well trained and academically bright. This will ensure the firm’s fine reputation to endure for years to come

Family Tier 3

Barcan+Kirby LLP has expertise in collaborative law, financial negotiations in cases of relationship breakdown and divorce, as well as on children-related matters, which involves acting on behalf of children in care proceedings. The team is experienced in matrimonial finance and also assists with maintenance claims. Another area of expertise is the provision of legal assistance in cases of severe domestic violence.

Practice head(s):

Jim Gridley


‘The size of the practice allows good communication and working relationships to develop between partners and associates. There is a instant feeling/ reassurance that you will be well represented when you enter the Barcan & Kirby practice. The receptionists are friendly and very professional. I thankfully have only had to deal with one practice and feel that I don’t need to look any further than B&K.’

Barcan & Kirby provide a consistent legal service in both children and financial remedy cases.  They have a high street presence which translates into effective legal representation at court.’

‘Barcan & Kirby are one of the largest family law practices in Bristol and surrounding area. A very capable high street offering with a number of good quality and practical lawyers who are client focused and effective.’

‘A mid-tier firm which punches above its weight in terms of the service and quality of advice.’

‘Great value for money as well as being well known in and around Bristol. They provide a good service to their many longstanding clients.’

‘The Family team combines expertise with a truly client-centred culture.’

‘Alison Whiles is an excellent advocate for collaborative and non-contentious divorce related matters.  She approaches her work in a calm and practical manner which is relayed well to clients.’

‘Chris Miller is calm, thoughtful and offered complete reassurance. He guided me well through a tricky divorce and always made me feel it would all work out well.’

‘Alison Whiles has better attention to detail than anyone else I know. She is also bright, sensible and personable.’

‘Chris Miller is a good communicator and proactive. Always willing to pick up the telephone to discuss issues.’

‘Kirsten Hale is very client focused and will fight hard for her clients in all circumstances. She does however see the bigger picture and ensures that expectations are managed leading to effective negotiation.’

Hanni Pennelegion and Kirsten Hale are both absolutely excellent. They’re each really down-to-earth and quickly gain a client’s trust. Their advice and judgement is usually impeccable so client expectations are really well managed. They also prepare really well for counsel.’

‘Alison Whiles is tenacious and extremely hard-working.’

‘Hanni Pennelegion is extremely popular and likeable. Clients always feel that she is on their side and she puts them at ease. She is not afraid of the complicated or unusual case.’

‘Jim Gridley provides a wealth of experience and brings calm and empathy to every case.’

‘Chris Miller is experienced with a thoughtful and creative approach to problem solving.’

‘Anna Wilson shows great empathy and a sharp mind.’

‘Kirsten Hale is passionate about getting the best outcome for her clients and applies diligence and creativity in equal measure.’

Personal injury: claimant Tier 4

Barcan+Kirby LLP is experienced in handling claims arising from brain, back and neck injuries and has a track record or pursuing claims arising from amputations, fatal injuries, psychiatric injuries as well as road traffic and work place accidents. Public liability claims are another key area of expertise. The firm also assists with claiming funds for rehabilitation and support measures.

Practice head(s):

Richard Harris


‘Barcan+Kirby has a personable and dedicated team which is friendly and efficient at what it does.’

‘Senior associate Myfanwy Buckeridge is one of the most effective solicitors I have ever known, really at the top end. She does a fantastic job for her clients.’

‘A client focused team. Very approachable, very competent and puts you at ease.

‘Senior associate Adrian Stone is knowledgeable, diligent and tactically astute. A good team player – he worked hard to get an excellent result on a high value, complex case for me.’

‘Approachable, realistic about case merits, practical and friendly.’

Barcan+Kirby is one of the largest mid-sized law firms in Bristol, with a long-established reputation for providing legal advice to individuals and businesses across the city and South Gloucestershire. In addition, the medical negligence and personal injury departments act for clients on a national basis. Formed in April 2015 via the merger of Barcan Woodward and Kirby Sheppard, the firm now employs in excess of 180 people and has strengthened and broadened its depth of services. The Corporate and Commercial team, formed in 2017, has grown from one solicitor to four with additional support staff to assist the growth. The firm also launched a Notary Public Service in 2018.

The Partners are advocates for flexible working and proud of the high percentage of women in senior or managerial positions in comparison to other law firms. This was reflected in Barcan+Kirby winning both the Business Award for Gender at the Bristol Diversity Awards 2019 and Legal award at the Bristol Life Awards 2019.

Barcan+Kirby is committed to the development of staff and provides comprehensive and supportive training. Their Associates Academy was established to support ambitious staff to develop the skills required to become leaders of the business. In addition, they have invested in new premises on North Street, Bedminster and Gloucester Road, Bishopston with an extension to the Thornbury office to provide a better working environment for staff.

The firm’s core values drive their culture. They combine a fresh, modern approach with traditional values. Their vision is to build on reputation for excellence, strive to build long- term relationships with clients, and retain their position as a major force in the South West legal sector.

Their HR team won the National People in Law Awards HR Team of the Year 2020 in recognition of their communication skills and HR initiatives, being described as ‘throwing down the gauntlet’ to the larger city firms.

Principal areas of work

The clinical negligence and personal injury departments are recognised both regionally and nationally for the quality of their work and the support they provide to claimants. The clinical negligence team has a wealth of experience across a range of injury types, including cerebral palsy, delayed or misdiagnosis, maximum severity birth injuries, amputations and fatal injuries. The personal injury team has particular experience in dealing with catastrophic injury cases, including claims arising from brain, back and spinal injuries, as well as road traffic accidents.

The family department is one of the largest in Bristol and has expertise spanning separation and divorce, matrimonial finances, child arrangements, care proceedings, domestic abuse and child abduction. Every member of the dedicated matrimonial finance team is a Resolution-accredited specialist and most solicitors across the department hold at least one Law Society panel membership. The team recently developed its own Domestic Abuse Department (DAD), with the head, Georgia Holmes, winning Highly Commended for Lawyer of the Year for her work in this area at the Modern Law Awards 2020.

The Wills, Trust and Probate team provide comprehensive Wills, estate planning and probate services to clients across the South West. Their strong reputation for providing exceptional service is demonstrated by the fact that over 70% of business comes via referrals from existing clients. Many of the team are members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) or Solicitors for the Elderly, and several hold the STEP Advanced Certificate in advising vulnerable clients. In 2019, the team won Solicitor Firm of the Year (South) at The British Wills and Probate Awards. The department have recently adapted their Will writing process to accommodate the needs of those wanting to make a Will during lockdown, including the launch of their online Wills service.

The highly experienced residential conveyancing department are specialists in all aspects of the buying and selling process. As well as dealing with straightforward domestic property transactions, they provide advice on re-mortgaging, buy-to-let investments, leasehold flats, new builds and shared ownership homes. Much of the team’s business comes via client recommendations or repeat business. The department are members of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme, reflecting the high standards of service.

The Dispute Resolution department are praised for the professional and diligent service they provide. They are skilled in all forms of dispute work including commercial and contract disputes, property litigation and debt recovery. The expert team offer alternative services such as mediation and direct negotiation.

The Employment team provide advice for both employees and employers on a range of employment-related issues, including HR support, redundancy, disciplinary issues and contract advice. They also provide support for discrimination at work and wrongful, unfair or constructive dismissal.

The Commercial Property department work with a variety of businesses providing practical and clear advice on areas including sales and purchases of land, retail and industrial units as well as leases, financing and regulatory compliance work. The team’s experience spans a range of sectors including new build property, restaurants, leisure, retail and construction.

The Corporate and Commercial team have grown from the ground up over the last three years and have developed a credible reputation, priding themselves on links with the local business community as well as advising national businesses including nursery childcare providers. The team encompass a strong mix of skills and experience and have a familiarity with a broad range of industries.

Department Name Email Telephone
Senior partners Anna Wilson
Senior partners Jim Gridley
Managing partner Bill Willcocks
Residential conveyancing Stephen Parker
Children Tom Powles
Divorce and ancillaries Jim Gridley
Personal injury and medical negligence Richard Harries
Litigation Bill Willcocks
Wills, trusts and probate Amanda Firth
Commercial Property Alex Castiglione
Corporate and Commercial Georgina Bryant
Employment James Bell
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr Jim Gridley  photo Mr Jim Gridley Senior Partner and Head of Family department
Number of UK partners : 17
Number of other UK fee-earners : 70
The Law Society of England & Wales
Law Society Children Panel

At Barcan+Kirby, 85% of staff are female and three quarters of business support managers are also women. They are proud that over 50% of staff work flexibly or part-time across six locations. In 2018, the firm announced they had achieved a gender-balanced partnership (53%) with the announcement of three female partners. In recognition of their work on inclusivity and diversity in the workplace, they were awarded the Business Award for Gender at the Bristol Diversity Awards.

All staff are required to complete mandatory diversity and equality training on an annual basis. Through their Associates Academy, senior members with a responsibility for recruitment are given training on subjects such as unconscious bias. The Academy also gives senior staff members training on a wide variety of subjects from managing stress to mental health awareness and nutrition. As part of one of the Academy projects, the Firm has now set up an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. They also connect regularly with The Law Society and Universities to promote the opportunities available for all in the legal sector.

Towards the end of 2018, the firm arranged external training with a well-being service for 12 members of staff to become Mental Health First Aiders. Part of their responsibility is to develop an understanding of common mental health issues and provide staff with the support or signposting they may need. The First Aiders are part of a committee meeting quarterly to ensure the initiative is embedded within their culture. They have introduced an Employee Assistance Programme, set up walking groups, created a Mental Health and Well-being policy and are working towards a ‘Time to Change’ employee pledge with the charity Mind to further support work in this area.

In May 2019, the committee, with the support of HR and Marketing, embraced Mental Health Awareness Week by introducing activities including running clubs and provision of healthy breakfasts. During 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic, the committee has continued to meet via video call to continue support for all staff during this difficult time. The Firm has also set up new methods of online communication to ensure staff either working from home, furloughed or in the office have the opportunity to communicate with their peers and keep updated.

They have completed a firm-wide staff survey and introduced suggestion boxes in each office, which are monitored on a quarterly basis. These conduits for staff feedback have inspired new initiatives such as increased maternity leave for premature babies, time off to give blood and the provision of the flu jab for all staff. Looking forward the Firm is organising a Firm wide survey for 2020 with the theme of ‘coming back better’ allowing all staff to feedback on their experiences during lockdown with the aim of long term improvements to the Firm, its processes and ways of working.

As well as supporting staff, they are rewarded through Values awards where staff nominate their deserving colleagues on a quarterly basis.

In 2020 Our HR department won HR Team of the Year at the People in Law Awards 2020.