PRAISE for Wilkin Chapman partners, individual solicitors and departmental teams, features strongly in the 2020/2021 Legal 500 national directory.
With reference to the firm’s strengths, particularly in the key sectors of renewable energy and agriculture, there are rankings for 13 departments across the Lincolnshire and Humber offices with four being the very highest. This annual ‘legal bible’ ranks the country’s law firms in their individual regions from Tiers One to Four.
Any ranking within these bands shows a high level of expertise, with One being the highest. Wilkin Chapman’s Grimsby headquarters falls into the East Midlands region, sitting with its sister offices in Lincoln, Louth and Horncastle whilst Beverley falls into Yorkshire & the Humber. Key highlights include:
Beverley (Yorkshire and the Humber region): There is praise for the Beverley office with the corporate and commercial and family departments receiving Tier Two status for the first time.
Led by Nasim Sharf, the report highlights the corporate and commercial team’s sector work within food, utilities, renewables and plant-tech along with its strength in handling demergers and spin-offs, and its support of clients’ succession planning, employee share schemes and incentive structuring.
The family team meanwhile is described as a ‘comprehensive practice’ with expertise in financial cases including complex and high-net-worth financial divorces, farming divorces and divorces involving businesses and trusts. Led by James Marsden, he is described as a ‘truly amazing’ solicitor by one client.
“Wilkin Chapman are a large business but always make you feel that you are their top priority. The staff are kind, knowledgeable and clearly experts in their field but with the unique ability to guide you through complex legal situations, which can be upsetting, with care and diplomacy. They are always on your side and want the best outcome for you,” adds another client.
Well-known East Yorkshire partner Lesley Archer is singled out for mention as she and her colleagues within the personal tax, trusts and probate team retain their Tier Four banding, in which ‘teamwork’ features strongly.
Grimsby, Lincoln, Louth & Horncastle (East Midlands):
The offices receive the following bandings:
Tier One for family, commercial property, debt recovery, and agriculture;
Tier Two for employment, and social housing;
Tier Three for corporate and commercial, personal tax trusts and probate, and property litigation:
Tier Four for personal injury and clinical negligence.
Led by Catherine Harris, the agriculture team is noted for its role as the East Midlands representative on the National Farmers Union legal panel.
Agriculture, along with the renewables sector, is mentioned as a strength within property litigation, with praise for the team’s focus upon commercial property disputes, and contested landlord and tenant matters. There is mention of senior partner Andrew Holt’s specialist knowledge of renewable energy and alternative technology. Fellow team member and partner Josh Briggs has, says a client testimonial, an ‘exceptional legal knowledge’ and is ‘excellent with clients’ with a ‘firm but fair approach’.
Like Beverley, the family team receives praise for its ‘particular strength and expertise’ in handling financial cases involving complex and high-net-worth financial divorces and divorces with farming assets, whilst specialising in military matters including pensions.
Head of corporate and commercial in Lincoln, Russell Eke, is singled out for his ‘notable expertise’ of renewables. Anaerobic digestion and compressed natural gas projects are among his successful projects, says the report. In Grimsby, corporate and commercial is led by Ian Sherburn and is noted for its knowledge when advising SMEs, owner-managed businesses and family-owned businesses on sales and acquisitions. It has expertise within corporate transactions, focusing upon petrochemical, retail, and manufacturing, says the directory.
Elsewhere the employment team is praised for its team-working and expertise within the public and private sectors, and the military. Partner Jane Eatock receives mention for her ‘extensive knowledge and experience’ with the ability to adapt this to ‘meet the needs of your own individual business, ensuring a high level of understanding’.
Debt recovery department head and partner Chris Grocock is described as a ‘leading individual’ and there is praise for Steven Hennegan and Mark Robinson who lead the personal injury team in Grimsby, which says the report ‘combines ability with knowledge in a manner that is very unusual in the field’. Steven and Mark’s colleague and clinical negligence specialist in Lincoln is new partner Jonathan Baker who a client describes as having ‘excellent client care skills, putting the client at ease and establishing a very helpful and positive rapport’.
Grimsby’s commercial property team is led by Rachael Dicken who specialises in advising house builders and developers on large-scale residential projects with her colleague Ruth Brewin acting on both residential and commercial projects. Rachael is identified as a ‘leading individual’ with the whole team praised for being ‘exceptionally strong, well run, efficient and extremely knowledgeable’.
Commercial property in Lincoln is headed up by Peter Hanson and highlighted for the advice given to Lincoln Corn Exchange Markets on several high value lease agreements relating to the refurbishment of the city centre retail premises under the Cornhill Quarter redevelopment scheme. Also based within the city office, Imogen Holmes, a partner in the personal tax trusts and probate team is praised for her knowledge.
Within Grimsby’s family team, praise was again received for Partner Mark Carlton who, the report says, is a highly experienced matrimonial finance expert.
Wilkin Chapman senior partner, Andrew Holt, said: “There is little doubt that we have some exceptional solicitors working within all of our teams who will go above and beyond to offer their clients the very best service they can. We see that in abundance across all our offices, where relationships with clients are professional, personable and strong.”