Barcan+Kirby LLP > Bristol, England > Firm Profile

Barcan+Kirby LLP

Insurance > Personal injury and clinical negligence; claimant

Barcan+Kirby LLP's clinical negligence and personal injury lawyers have a strong offering for claimants, providing 'good value without cutting corners'. The outstanding clinical negligence practice covers the full spectrum of issues, with departmental head Richard Harries specialising in cases relating to delayed cancer diagnoses and maximum severity birth injuries. Claire Hurrell is another core team member with expertise in cases arising from negligent obstetric care. Vastly experienced senior associate Jayshree Nathwani is noted for brain injury claims and cases involving opthalmology, spinal injuries and amputation. Senior associate Helen Franklin also has an active caseload. The lead contact for personal injury cases is Samantha Castle, whose practice covers workplace accidents, occupier's liability cases and road accidents. Castle works closely with Myfanwy Buckeridge, who handles road traffic and construction site accident claims, as well as heavy industry-related employer's liability cases.

Practice head(s):

Richard Harries


Barcan + Kirby are a great firm and provide an excellent client service. They deal with all types of clinical negligence disputes.’

In particular, I would highly recommend Jay Nathwani and Helen Franklin. They are extremely safe pairs of hands and highly experienced.

A highly specialised clinical negligence team benefitting from consistently good lawyers at all levels. They work together collaboratively and share team knowledge and expertise.’

Rich Harries and Claire Hurrell are both excellent lawyers who are understanding, tenacious and careful in pursuit of justice and damages claims for their clients.’

This is a relatively small but specialised clinical negligence team. The level of attention to individual cases is very high and the service provided is excellent.’

Jay Nathwani was my main point of contact and I must say she worked tirelessly to smooth the path to a successful conclusion. I was kept informed at all stages during the course of this case and have nothing but gratitude for all that she did for me.’

The department occupies an important niche in Bristol: good value without cutting corners. They are good at attracting talent and retaining it.

The team dealing with my case has made an incredibly stressful process bearable, and collaborated well to ensure I had the best chance of success.’

Private client > Family Tier 3

Barcan+Kirby LLP handles a range of matrimonial and children’s law matters for all types of clients, ranging from low value to and high-net-worth individuals. The team has notable experience in domestic abuse, gender recognition and child abuse, as well as other less common matters. The ‘experienced, client focused and approachableHanni Pennelegion lead the team from its two Bristol offices, both of whom have expertise in financial matters arising from divorce. Kirsten Hale heads the divorce and separation finances team.

Practice head(s):

Hanni Pennelegion

Other key lawyers:

Chris Miller; Kirsten Hale; Tom Powles; Anna Wilson


‘The team dealing with my case has made an incredibly stressful process bearable, run smoothly and collaborated well to ensure I had the best chance of success.’

‘The department occupies an important niche in Bristol – good value without cutting corners. They are good at attracting undervalued talent and retaining it.’

‘Hanni Pennelegion is a great partner – experienced, client focused, approachable and realistic.

‘Kirsten Hale is commendable in all ways.’

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 Bristol 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 to include the Corporate Services Division.

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.

Senior Partner Anna Wilson
Managing partner Bill Willcocks
Residential Conveyancing Stephen Parker
Children Tom Powles
Divorce and ancillaries Hanni Pennelegion
Personal injury and medical negligence Richard Harries
Litigation James Bell
Wills, trusts and probate Tom Sharkey
Commercial Property Salma Maqsood
Corporate and Commercial Georgina Bryant
Employment Samantha Castle
Number of UK partners : 23
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. We 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. The firm still have a gender-balanced partnership in 2021.

All staff are required to complete mandatory diversity and equality training on an annual basis. Through our 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.

Barcan+Kirby developed a policy in November 2019 to make adjustments where necessary to support employees experiencing the menopause. The aim of this policy is to make managers aware of Barcan+Kirby’s responsibility to understand the menopause and related issues, and how they can affect staff. It also aims to raise wider awareness and understanding amongst employees and to outline support and reasonable adjustments that are available. The policy will also roll out training to additional members of staff in all offices.

During 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic, 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. This includes a new Hybrid working policy, which will enable staff to choose whether they work from home or the office.

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.

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

CLIENT: Clinical Negligence client
COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
TESTIMONIAL: While dealing with Barcan+Kirby Solicitors I found them to be polite, prompt, they also explained all the Legal matters in a way I understood. When given timescales I was kept informed of progress, any delays that arose for any reason & kept in touch. I was also impressed with the way they handled the Covid situation & continued to work whilst in lockdown. I am totally happy & satisfied with their work to resolve my case.

CLIENT: Clinical Negligence client
COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
TESTIMONIAL: I chose Barcan + Kirby due to their presence in my local area of Bristol. I’m very glad that I did, as from the initial phone call, an appointment / consultation was made very quickly. I immediately felt safe and confident that I’d made the right choice. I’d never made a claim in my life before, so I was nervous and apprehensive at first, but I was briefed quite thoroughly in an easy-to-understand way about what going forth with the case would entail. Personally, I appreciate this kind of thorough approach as, if one is going to go ahead with this kind of action, then no stone should be left unturned. I would thoroughly recommend them.

CLIENT: Real Estate – Property Litigation client
COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
TESTIMONIAL: Sharlie Sollars calmly managed a land dispute which became protracted and at times, awkward. Sharlie stuck to the objectives in the interests of the bigger picture and demonstrated a very good balance of carrot and stick, where necessary. The outcome was ultimately successful with satisfactory ‘wins’ for both parties. We were very pleased with Sharlie’s tenacity and professionalism and on a personal note, her manner and approachability.

CLIENT: Real Estate – Property Litigation client
COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
TESTIMONIAL: I can’t fault any of the work carried out by James Bell and his team. I gave James very little time to prepare for anything let alone actually take my case on as i had left it to the last minute (2 days to prepare) I actually believe had I gone to another solicitor they would not have taken me on. A friend had dealings with Barcan + Kirby a couple of years ago so I am glad I went with her advice.

CLIENT: Real Estate – Commercial Property client
COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
TESTIMONIAL: We used Barcan & Kirby for a complex Commercial Property purchase. Fantastic proactive team working from everyone we met. We got the job done slightly ahead of schedule and on budget. No transaction is ever straight forward but the support we had was amazing, practical and pragmatic. Highly recommend.

CLIENT: Real Estate – Commercial Property client
COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
TESTIMONIAL: Barcan + Kirby provided commercial legal advice which clarified the issues quickly on a potential property purchase. I will use them again in the future.

CLIENT: Personal Injury client
COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
TESTIMONIAL: I was extremely impressed and satisfied with the service I received; I was kept well informed and completely in the loop at all junctures – I cannot highly recommend this firm of lawyers enough – their friendly professionalism was a real beacon of light and I was guided expertly and informatively throughout – thank you!

CLIENT: Personal Injury client
COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
TESTIMONIAL: I advise anyone to use this firm of solicitors. They are highly competent, professional & knowledgeable solicitors with a vast experience of the claims they handle. Trust them. Trust what they do. Trust they will do their best for you. My solicitor was excellent.

CLIENT: Contentious Trusts & Probate client
COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
TESTIMONIAL: I was very happy with the service provided to me at Barcan+Kirby Solicitors, the Solicitor provided the answers to all my questions and proceeded to help me along the probate questions I had at the time to be put forward to the Executor and Administrators, there was a positive outcome and all went well. Very grateful to my Solicitor Mark Scanlon and team, if needed again I will approach them for more services.

CLIENT: Contentious Trusts & Probate client
COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
TESTIMONIAL: I have had an emotionally difficult situation to resolve and found Mark Scanlan to be both professional and understanding at all times. He offers clear, concise and helpful guidance and where needed support. His no nonsense and systematic approach has been a great comfort and much appreciated. Having had previous negative experience with lawyers I would add that Mark and his firm have gone a good way towards re-educating me as to their excellent counsel and advice. Many thanks to Mark and his team.

CLIENT: Private Client – Family client
COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
TESTIMONIAL: I used Barcan and Kirby throughout the separation and then subsequent divorce. They provided a great service from the outset and their actions and advice allowed me to plan for the future from an early stage. I would highly recommend their services from straight forward to complicated cases. I have already recommended several friends on their service.

CLIENT: Private Client – Family client
COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
TESTIMONIAL: I can highly recommend Barcan and Kirby. Friendly helpful and very knowledgeable staff, always ready to help when needed. I had a solicitor that was knowledgeable, helpful and I consider myself to be very fortunate to have had them. Thank you to everyone.