Leading Devon law firm Kitsons has been recognised in the latest edition of the Legal 500 – the prestigious guide to the UK legal profession. The Legal 500 is an independent legal guide, recommending and ranking law firms and lawyers based on positive client and external feedback.
Kitsons has been ranked in six practice areas in the South West section of the 2017 guide; Employment, Private Client, Corporate and Commercial, Dispute Resolution, Family and Real Estate.
The number of Recommended Lawyers has increased to 16, with one Partner, David Turner, listed as a ‘Leading Individual’ in this year’s publication.
James Cross, Managing Partner at Kitsons said: "I am delighted that Kitsons and our lawyers continue to be recommended in the Legal 500. This is particularly important to us as it’s based on client feedback. This accolade comes from the firm’s continued growth and success over the past 12 months and highlights the breadth of talent working at Kitsons – it is reward for the investment we have made in recruitment and people development over many years."
Legal 500 2017 says:
The ‘excellent’ and ‘very attentive’ team at Kitsons LLP provides employment law advice and HR support to a broad client base, with a particular focus on the education, healthcare, construction, leisure and tourism sectors. It has experience in handling senior-level exits as well as redundancy and restructuring processes, including attending collective consultation negotiations with trade unions, acting in whistleblowing claims and settlement agreements, and assisting with the employment law aspects of company mergers, share sales, and transfers of assets, in particular TUPE-related matters. Advising clients from the education sector on dismissals and complaint processes, including providing support to the respective governing bodies, is another area of strength. Other areas of expertise range from advising on investigations in relation to competing business activities of employees to providing ongoing advice and HR support to clients.
Rhodri Davey heads the team. Jayme Nicholson is ‘very knowledgeable’ and ‘very commercial in her thinking’. Clients include The Guild of Construction Workers, Duchy Group and Qualitest Software Testing.
Private Client – Personal tax, trusts and probate
Kitsons LLP is ‘very knowledgeable in every area of private client work’. The team is spread across Exeter, Torquay and Plymouth, and is particularly noted for its ‘prompt as well as professional responses’.
‘Very experienced’ practice head Lynn Smith has ‘an excellent manner with clients’. Tax planning expert Charlie Siegle and trusts specialist Jonathan Dickson are recommended for probate cases with an international element. Marjorie Creek has ‘comprehensive as well as practical knowledge and expertise’ - ‘the care and empathy she shows to her elderly clients whilst at the same time ensuring that all relevant legal areas are dealt is exceptional’.
Corporate and Commercial
Kitsons LLP’s corporate team is headed by Dominic Hollingsworth, who is an ‘experienced, well-networked operator’. The team has been involved in a number of multimillion-pound share transactions in 2016-2017, and also has experience of refinancing matters. Corri Pedrick is an associate in the corporate team and specialises in commercial drafting, and Graham Forward is a consultant in the department.
Dispute Resolution – Commercial Litigation
Clients of Kitsons LLP rate the firm for its ‘exceptional quality for the money’ and ‘capability across the whole range of commercial disputes seen in the West Country’. David Turner is ‘absolutely first-rate’ and represented a local authority education provider in a financial leasing dispute with Siemens. The practice is headed by the ‘commercially astute’ James Cross, who has been involved in a variety of significant property disputes in addition to a shareholder dispute in 2016 and 2017. Nicholas Johnson, another key contact in the department, has experience of property disputes and mediation.
Kitsons LLP specialises in financial proceedings on divorce and cohabitee disputes, and regularly assists with pre and post-nuptial agreements. Practice head Tony Hunt ‘takes time to understand the client’s position’, and has particular expertise in advising business owners on high-value matrimonial finance cases. Carolyn Croft is another key contact.
Real Estate, Commercial Property
The commercial property team at Kitsons LLP has particular expertise in property development and commercial landlord and tenant work in the leisure sector. Split between the firm’s Exeter and Plymouth offices, the department also has specialisms in the health and care and renewables sectors, and works closely with the Torquay-based corporate group.
James Lang leads the Plymouth-based team and is acting for the funder of a £1.5m development of the former Prudential Building in Portsmouth. Heading the team in Exeter, Cameron Caverhill has ‘excellent industry knowledge’ and acted for a landowner client on the high-value sale of agricultural land to a national housebuilder. Caverhill also worked alongside the corporate team on the refinancing of two holiday parks for Worldteam Limited. Other notable clients include Teignbridge District Council, Wyse Homes and South West Holiday Parks Limited.