WILLANS LLP INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
At one of Gloucestershire’s leading law firms, Willans LLP, there have been some significant promotions and the practice has retained its Lexcel accolade for the eighth year running.
The Cheltenham-based firm is under new leadership this month, welcoming a second female managing partner in succession, and has also promoted three solicitors at the end of its trading year, two of whom are female.
Despite the fact that more women than men are now qualifying as solicitors, men still vastly outnumber females at partner level across the UK. Willans bucks this trend with a third of the firm’s partners being women.
The firm has once again been awarded the Law Society’s Lexcel quality mark as it meets the highest levels of client care and business management standards. Lexcel is a nationally recognised accreditation which assesses law firms through rigorous independent assessments every year.
Bridget Redmond joined Willans twelve years ago and became a partner within two years; ten years on she is now at the helm.
A mother of two and the daughter of a Somerset solicitor, Bridget is an LSE graduate who headed up the firm’s well respected residential property department for many years. In 2014, she became joint managing partner alongside Margaret Austen, who is now a consultant.
Ruth Baker, who joined the wills, probate & trusts team from Harrison Clark in 2012, is now a partner at the progressive law firm. She advises individuals on all aspects of lifetime estate planning, including the preparation of wills, inheritance tax and the creation of trusts. She handles powers of attorney, Court of Protection matters and the administration of estates and trusts.
Ruth has been recommended on merit by national independent legal guides for several years. She was one of only two private client lawyers in the South West to be considered ‘associates to watch’ in the 2015 Chambers guide. Last year she was also named one of Cotswold Life’s ‘35 Cotswolds Professionals under 35’.
Jennifer Emerson, a member of the wills, probate & trusts team, and Nick Southwell of the litigation team, have been promoted to associate solicitor positions.
Jennifer joined the firm in 2013 after relocating to Cheltenham from an Essex firm. She deals with all aspects of private client work such as wills and estate planning, probate and the administration of estates, trusts and issues concerning mental capacity.
She added another string to their bow late last year, as did Ruth, when they joined the elite few solicitors in Gloucestershire to become fully accredited members of ‘Solicitors for the Elderly’. This is an independent panel of nationally recognised lawyers who provide specialist legal advice for older and vulnerable people, their families and carers.
Nick Southwell qualified in 2006 and worked for a law firm on the south coast before moving to Gloucestershire. He joined Willans in 2014 from Tayntons LLP.
Nick is a member of the firm’s litigation and dispute resolution team and handles a wide variety of work for both commercial and private clients. This includes contractual disputes, landlord and tenant matters, property disputes and professional negligence claims. He is also an accredited civil and commercial mediator and in his role as solicitor and mediator he has developed a particularly strong understanding of the importance of a sensitive and respectful approach to resolving disputes.
Nick Cox, partner at Willans, said: “Being in an industry which isn’t so commonly known for women at board level, we’re delighted to be leading the way with females at the top. The firm’s aim is to recruit and retain the best lawyers, who can deliver the best service to clients, irrespective of gender, and Bridget’s appointment is a reflection of this. She is a real asset and encourages everyone to achieve their best.”
Bridget Redmond, managing partner, said: “I’m delighted that Ruth has accepted partnership with us. She is a hugely talented lawyer and these are exciting times for our private client team which is going from strength to strength. I am equally delighted at Jennifer and Nick’s promotions. They are excellent lawyers and have grown to become key members of their respective departments.”
Willans LLP acts for commercial businesses, private individuals, charities and not-for-profit organisations based locally, nationally and internationally, and employs around 80 people at its offices at Imperial Square, Cheltenham.
Caption: Promotions at Willans LLP – L to R: partner Ruth Baker, associate, solicitors
Jennifer Emerson and Nick Southwell and managing partner Bridget Redmond