Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Wiltshire lawyers celebrate Legal 500 rankings

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Lawyers from across Wiltshire have been recognised in the prestigious Legal 500 directory, published this week.

The Legal 500 provides a guide to the top law firms, leading individuals, and emerging talent across the UK.

Richard Bebb and Phillip BoltonFor the third year running Chippenham-based law firm Goughs Solicitors has been ranked as a leading firm in the directory.

The family law team has received exemplary feedback and accreditation while the firm has also been recognised for its wills, trust and probate department work for the first time receiving some excellent testimonials.

Clients contacted by The Legal 500 to provide anonymous testimonials to support the rankings praised the firm's “excellent service” with lawyers who “work together to provide sensible, appropriate and achievable solutions,” leaving the client “with a feeling of confidence and a clear understanding of the issues involved.”

Clients also described the firm's lawyers as "Responsive, courteous and professional”, and "Very down to earth,", highlighting their "excellent relationship with clients".

Equity partner and member of the family team, Richard Bebb (pictured left), commented: “I have been closely involved with our Legal 500 applications from the start. The depth of client service and knowledge required to achieve ever more demanding ratings is second to none. I am therefore exceptionally proud of the achievements of the family team in securing its third consecutive ranking.

"It is thoroughly deserved and recognises the team’s dedication to every client and case. We are continuing to grow our family team with great talent to ensure we continue such levels of success.”

Phillip Bolton (pictured right), partner and member of the private client team and Goughs added: “It is a great testament to the level of hard work and commitment from across the firm that the Wills, Trusts and Probate team have been recognised by such a prestigious organisation.

"The recognition comes at a time when the team has been creatively signing wills and other legal documentation, through windows and at safe distances throughout 2020 to ensure we can still deliver exceptional levels of service to all our clients.

"This commitment to our clients has been gratefully rewarded.”

Phillip Bolton was noted in the Legal 500 for having “a calming presence and a gift for explaining technical issues in plain English without patronising."

Neil Patterson and Alan CiechanSolicitors from private client and commercial property teams at Devizes-based Wansbroughs have also been acknowledged for their skills and achievements.

The private client team – known for providing technical advice on a wide range of matters including “complex tax planning for landed estates, inheritance tax planning and the administration of trusts” – was promoted in its ranking to tier 3.

The achievement demonstrates “the quality of the staff providing service to their clients is the main standout aspect of the firm,” said the directory's authors.

Alan Ciechan (pictured right), who heads the private client team, was described as “exceptionally good at drafting documents and understanding requirements, and always deals with matters very promptly.” “Other key lawyers in the team were Anna Wensley Stock, Kathryn Smith Cowap and Jennifer Vooght.”

Trust and estate planning expert, Anna Wensley Stock was described as “extremely bright, hardworking and responsive. She has a very nimble mind and gets right to what’s important.”

Kathryn Smith Cowap, said the guide, “exhibits high levels of professionalism under time pressure. Her advice is not only accurate, but also appropriate and on-point, enabling high-value decisions to be taken swiftly.”

Additionally, Emily Anderson was described as “one of the finest legal professionals” and her “professionalism and guidance are highly valued.”

Meanwhile, the commercial property team “acting for corporations, developers and landed estates” is “well known for providing technical advice on development matters and its strength in the healthcare and renewables sectors” was ranked tier 3.

“Neil Patterson (pictured left) leads the team and specialises in complex land development projects” and “other key lawyers in the team are Jonathan Bruton and Laura Ingram Hill who were described as particularly good to work with,” the directory noted.

Christopher Ware was mentioned as “brilliant,” “we can trust him to act quickly” and “we like the fact he is always one step ahead.”

Wansbroughs was summarised as offering “a variety of services”, providing “an excellent service” and having “a friendly, polite and professional team.”

The rankings and recognition of particular individuals are the result of detailed analysis of firm submissions, as well as countless interviews with clients and industry peers by the guide’s extremely experienced panel.

It is a great achievement for a firm to be ranked in the Legal 500 referral guide and even more so for so many solicitors from Wansbroughs to be listed as leading individuals within their fields and classed as Legal 500 recommended solicitors.

Philip HumphreysMeanwhile, Swindon-based Clark Holt is one of just five law firms in the region to make the coveted Tier 1 ranking, which reflects a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

The corporate team at Clark Holt is led by Philip Humphreys (pictured), specialising in mergers and acquisitions, management buy-outs and reorganisations. The group advises a mixture of regional, national and international clients, with partner Joe Lewis able to draw on experience in listings and fundraisings.

Legal 500 notes some of the testimonials from Clark Holt clients, which include comments that it is “a small but highly specialised team focused on their core areas of corporate transactions and commercial matters”, and “partner led, providing a truly personal and bespoke service to clients.”

It highlights some specific deals, including advising on a £17.6m private equity supported management buy-out of early careers recruitment software specialist Amberjack, and advising Jonas Computing (UK) on the acquisitions of Motion Software and Retail & Sport Systems.

Clark Holt also provide ongoing legal support to some long-standing clients across various sectors, including Cirencester-based Kallidus, a company that combines classroom, online, mobile and social learning into one single scalable platform.

Philip said he was delighted that the firm has again been recognised as a regional leader in corporate and commercial law.

“We are a specialist commercial law firm and believe in quality over quantity, and this accolade shows that big is not necessarily always best,” said Philip.

“What Legal 500 identifies is exactly what our clients often tell us – that they value the fact that they are able to build a strong relationship with their lawyer, and get a very personalised service from people who are genuine specialists in their field of business law."