UK

South West

Private Client


Due to the number of tables in this section, the editorial is in alphabetical order by firm name.

Private Client - South West

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Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 9 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Exeter, Tiverton

What the team is known for Strong on matters relating to landed estates and agricultural interests. Additional strengths in tax planning and estate administration, with an increasing profile for contentious trusts and probate.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Breadth of service: "They can handle any of my needs in various areas of law and always give me confidence."

Client service: "They certainly have a better and more sympathetic approach than larger firms."

Notable practitioners

Michael Alden maintains his focus on estate planning and tax mitigation. Clients assert that "he is conscientious, level-headed and eager to explain things in a way that we can understand." 

Robert Horsey enjoys a strong reputation as a contentious trusts practitioner. Sources attest that "he is helpful, obliging and thoughtful. His advice is always pragmatic." 

Basic facts about the department

- 6 partners
- 13 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Undisputed market leaders for all aspects of non-contentious private client work. Particular strength in tax and succession planning, with the ability to advise on wealth protection for non-domiciled high net worth individuals and offshore trustees. Clients range from substantial landed estates to business owners.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Practical advice: "They have a dedicated team that ensures the big picture is understood. They are able to think outside the box."

Technical ability: "They are very cerebral and I cannot fault their technical input."

Bench strength: "They have more partners and a bigger set-up that adds value."

Notable practitioners 

John Barnett receives high praise from market commentators, who draw particular attention to his strength in tax planning.

Charles Wyld commands respect from all corners of the market for his handling of issues facing high net worth individuals. Commentators note that "he is able to assess situations very quickly and keeps us informed on how cases are progressing."

International wealth and asset specialist Beatrice Puoti routinely advises non-domiciled clients, bringing particular knowledge of Italian and French law. Market sources state: "She has a reputation for being extremely hard-working, and clients value that." 

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Cheltenham

What the team is known for Renowned for advising high net worth individuals, business clients and offshore trustees. Complex tax and trust matters form the backbone of the practice, especially in relation to landed estates.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Practical service: "The technical knowledge of the partners is of the very highest standard, as is their solutions-based approach."

Empathy: "The firm provides excellent technical advice and sensitive and supportive presentation."

Notable practitioners 

Julia Cox brings a focus on cross-border trusts. Observers state that "she constantly delivers. She has a way of building a rapport and confidence from the first meeting – she is the consummate professional."

Senior partner Christopher Page routinely handles tax and estate matters for those with substantial agricultural interests, receiving praise from both peers and clients.

Basic facts about the department

- 6 partners
- 14 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol, Taunton

What the team is known for Advises on a broad range of trusts, estate and tax planning matters for an impressive client base across the South West. The Taunton team is renowned for its landed estates and agricultural nous, while the Bristol offering is geared towards servicing high net worth individuals and business owners.

What's new? David Maddock, who operates from the Taunton office, was recently promoted to partner. He specialises in tax and trust planning for landed clients.

Notable practitioners

Stuart Thorne maintains a versatile private client practice. Market commentators observe that he has excellent knowledge of trusts and estates.

David Maddock is a firm favourite amongst clients and commended for his affable approach.

Elizabeth Smithers focuses her practice on estate administration and is highly regarded for her attention to detail.

What the team is known for Well known across Cornwall for handling the gamut of wills, probate and trust work. Private client work is complemented by a strong elderly client and Court of Protection practice.

Notable practitioners 

Richard Pollock maintains a traditional private client practice and is highly regarded by peers and clients alike.

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 12 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Exeter

What the team is known for Caters primarily for landed and farming clients and high net worth individuals. Tax and succession planning, rural renewable energy projects and overseas asset protection are the mainstay of its work. Boasts a well-established contentious arm.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market dominance: "A first-rate contentious department, they fight hard for their clients and get some stunning results. They are turning from a regional force into a national force – ones to watch."

Notable practitioners

Head of department Angela Bridges focuses her practice on wealth preservation, tax planning and trusts. Sources praise her pragmatism, noting: "She is very good at translating experience into practical solutions that are right for the client." 

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 1 other qualified lawyer
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Trust and tax planning experts who advise on inheritance tax planning and relief as well as pilot and pension trusts.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Reassuring service: "I find their performance and service very satisfactory and I like the continuity of contact with partners I know and trust."

Client service: "They provide excellent client service. They know their stuff and have the ability to explain it in a way that the layman can understand."

Notable practitioners

Mike Rapps boasts a strong reputation in trust and tax planning. Clients underline his reassuring demeanour, stating: "He is good at clarifying things, setting out both the legal issues and the options available." 

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 3 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Cheltenham

What the team is known for Strong all-round abilities in the private client world. Specialisms include estate planning and administration, often with a cross-border element, as well as trust and probate disputes. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bespoke advice: "They listen to what clients want and then translate that into a legal form, rather than offering preconceived ideas about what is needed."

What's new? The merger between Harrison Clark and Rickerbys that created the firm has bolstered its depth of resources.

The private client team has been strengthened with the promotion of Phillipa Bruce-Kerr and Alex Taylor to partner level.

Notable practitioners  

Mark Hartley is an acknowledged cross-border tax specialist. He has an established reputation in high-end estate planning for those with rural and farming interests.

Basic facts about the department

- 1 partner
- 2 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Contentious probate specialists, with a strong reputation for handling Inheritance Act claims. Complemented by an able non-contentious team that covers an array of concerns.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "They are easy to contact and always at the end of the phone if needed."

Client service: "They are thorough and diligent, and put together a very robust case."

Notable practitioners

Philip Siddons is a recognised contentious trusts and probate practitioner. "He is very knowledgeable and provides very good insights to help us find a successful conclusion," clients remark. 

Basic facts about the department

- 16 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Exeter

What the team is known for An impressive and well-established team that routinely handles big-ticket work for ultra high net worth individuals, offshore trust companies and those with international assets. Experienced in covering wealth preservation, tax planning and contentious trusts and probate work.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They bring a level of service and sophistication that appears to be unmatched in the area."

Bench strength: "Michelmores seems to have a specialist for every sort of legal problem that arises. I find them to be very generous with informal advice."

Regional capability: "They are a very efficient and streamlined operation that is going from strength to strength in the West Country."

What's new? The department was bolstered in November 2012 with the arrival of Peter Williams, Vivienne Williams, Ben Sharples and Miles Farren, all formerly of Wilsons LLP.

The firm established a new Bristol office from where Sandra Brown, formerly of Osborne Clarke, will operate.  

Notable practitioners

Jonathan Riley, a tax adviser with a particular expertise in offshore tax planning, is popular with both clients and competitors. Sources say that "he quickly builds a strong rapport with clients."

Will Michelmore is a firm client favourite and his broad practice is well established in the area. He is particularly well versed in matters affecting agricultural families and landed estates.

Adrian Miller comes highly recommended for his estate administration practice. Observers comment that "he is wonderful to work with – very charismatic, a great people person who can really relate to clients." He is also praised for his "ability to think around the problem and take the holistic view." 

Sandra Brown joins the firm's new Bristol office, bringing with her considerable experience in all aspects of wealth protection. Sources say: "She is very good at getting to grips with what the client wants to achieve by listening properly and coming up with suitable solutions."

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 10 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol 

What the team is known for A strong focus on providing services to high net worth families and family-owned businesses. Trust and tax planning advice is a mainstay of the team's work and is handled for both resident and non-domiciled clients. Also boasts an accomplished contentious tax and trust offering.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Excellent service: "Supported by a real sense for client service and responsiveness."

Reliability: "You can really rely on them to do a good job. They have a nice way of dealing with people and they take the time to work out what makes a client tick." 

Notable practitioners 

Mark Woodward is a key contact here.

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Taunton, Wellington, Yeovil

What the team is known for Traditional private client work with a solid reputation for wills and probate work as well as trust and estate administration. Capacity to advise on contentious claims.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Good service: "They consistently offer an efficient, sound and personal service."

Notable practitioners

Stephen Wray is a revered contentious practitioner who garners high praise from both clients and peers. Sources comment that "he has a clear, cool head and an excellent grasp of both the legal position and wider commercial interests. His rational approach inspires trust. A fine advocate." 

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 4 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol, Portishead

What the team is known for A respected local team with particular experience in the administration of personal injury trusts and awards. Elderly client care is a growing area of expertise for the team.

Notable practitioners

Head of department Anne Minihane is an estate administration specialist who comes highly praised by market commentators. Sources remark that "she is a safe pair of hands with a loyal following amongst clients, for whom she works very hard." 

Basic facts about the department

- 6 partners
- 8 other qualified solicitors
- Office locations ranked: Exeter, Truro, St Austell

What the team is known for Provides the full range of private client services across the South West. Strength in trust work sets the team apart, and they are specialists in death in active service exemption and inheritance forfeiture cases. An increasing capacity for international work, handled primarily from the Exeter office.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "We find that response times are good, business acumen is excellent and their industry knowledge is faultless. The outstanding factor, though, is the appropriateness of the advice in seeking the best route to a fast and satisfactory conclusion."

Technical ability: "They have solicitors with excellent technical legal knowledge, robust common sense and an awareness of client requirements. Their interdepartmental liaison is very good."

What's new? Tax associate Lisa Weekes joined the team in 2012, adding new expertise in onshore and offshore tax and trust advice.

Notable practitioners

Graham Murdoch heads the Truro team and maintains a diverse private client practice. Market commentators observe that "he is very approachable and doesn't stand on ceremony."

Phil Gregory spearheads the firm's contentious trust and probate offering; his reputation as a litigator precedes him. "He gets stunning results for his clients, always has a clear game plan and gets to where he wants to get to," clients say.

Basic facts about the department

- 3 partners
- 4 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bath

What the team is known for Commendable prowess across the range of private client work, with a strong focus on elderly client care planning. Advice on cross-border trusts and asset protection are also a forte. Maintains a diverse client base, from high net worth individuals to farmers, landowners and family business owners.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "I like them because they are not a large London firm; they have the rural feel, but also the infrastructure behind them to be efficient and provide a good service."

Client service: "They show confidence in dealing with very complex matters. Most importantly, we were treated with kindness and understanding during an emotionally difficult period."

Notable practitioners 

Alison Allen primarily handles elderly client care matters and has a practice which spans both private client and Court of Protection work. Sources praise her ability to communicate effectively with clients and assert that "she is outstanding. Her expertise in long-term care funding is second to none." 

Rachel Curtis continues to impress with a diverse portfolio of private client work.

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 3 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Tax and estate planning is the bedrock of the team's work, but it also has established litigation experience to handle probate and trust disputes. Typical clients include business owners and private wealth institutions.

What's new? Anna Parker joins the team as an associate, bringing with her considerable expertise in international succession planning and experience of the French and Spanish markets.

Notable practitioners

Patrick Wooddisse is well practised in cross-border tax planning and asset protection. He comes highly recommended by both peers and clients.

David Wheeler acts on both contentious and non-contentious work as part of his much-admired private client practice. Sources say that "he is a very calming presence – when emotions run high he is good at taking an objective, analytical approach to find a pragmatic solution." 

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 12 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for A well-established team offering comprehensive services to a broad client base including entrepreneurs, landowners and those with inherited wealth. Cross-border asset protection, tax planning, probate and trust administration are key strengths.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The level of service is exemplary. Any queries are always dealt with promptly and with great care. I have great confidence in the advice that I have been given." 

Notable practitioners 

Head of department Michelle Rose is a contentious probate expert who has a solid reputation amongst clients and competitors.

Basic facts about the department

- Office locations ranked: Cheltenham

What the team is known for A boutique firm with an enviable strength in offshore and cross-border matters. Typical clients include the ultra wealthy and entrepreneurs.

Notable practitioners  

Tim Osborne is a key contact.

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 7 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bath

What the team is known for Traditional private client work encompassing trust administration and probate litigation. Works in close conjunction with the firm's Court of Protection group to both advise and serve as professional deputies to vulnerable clients. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Practical advice: "Any issues or queries are dealt with pragmatically and solutions are found." 

What's new? Becky Ricards-Small joined the team from Thrings in 2012. She focuses her practice on business property and agricultural issues.

Notable practitioners  

James McNeile is a key contact.  

Other Ranked Lawyers 其他上榜律师

Associate Chris Kerr-Smiley recently joined Bond Dickinson and continues to impress with his work for non-domiciled clients. Market sources praise his communication skills and ability to work as part of a team.

Foreign Experts

Foreign Experts are individuals with expertise in a different jurisdiction to the one they are based in. These individuals are particularly highly regarded for international and cross-border work. Usually, they will be identified in the jurisdiction in which they are based and in their country of expertise.

Senior Statesman

A 'Senior Statesman' is a lawyer who no longer works hands-on with the same intensity but who, by virtue of close links with major clients, remains pivotal to the firm’s success.

Eminent Practitioners

'Eminent Practitioners' are highly influential lawyers in a particular practice area who, due to managerial or client relationship commitments, are less active in day-to-day work but remain key players in the team.

Other Noted Practitioners

Other Noted Practitioners are individuals who have not yet been ranked but are seen to be active and accomplished in this area of law.

Other Noted Firms

Other Noted Firms are firms that have not yet been ranked but are seen to be active and accomplished in this area of law.