The Legal 500 has once again recognised and confirmed Thompson Smith and Puxon (TSP) and its on-going commitment to client service and effective communication with continued recommendations in nine practice areas. The Legal 500 said the following about each of TSP’s recommended practice areas and each of the lawyers highlighted in the text are individually recommended also:
Corporate and Commercial: Thompson Smith and Puxon’s corporate department provides ‘exemplary service‘ with an ‘efficient, pragmatic and commercial approach‘ and ‘resolves matters in a prompt and professional way‘. M&A, restructurings, commercial contracts, business disposals and sponsor agreements form the bulk of the practice’s work. The team achieved a growth in matters relating to the agricultural, construction and food industries, while healthcare remains a strong focus. The ‘helpful and informative‘ Mary Anne Fedeyko ‘explains proceedings clearly‘ and has a ‘rapid understanding of the relevant issues and how to manage relationships with other solicitors‘. ‘Extremely thorough‘ property expert Stephen Firmin and the ‘calm, unflustered and committed‘ Caroline Nicholls are also recommended. Together with Claire Powell and Nick Mayles, they make up the core team in Colchester.
Employment: Thompson Smith and Puxon’s employment team impresses with its ‘realistic advice, an understanding of clients’ needs and communication that is delivered to a high standard‘. Focus areas regarding employer matters include strategic advice and risk assessment, contracts and policies, disciplinary procedures, TUPE, restrictive covenants, dismissals and redundancies, disputes, tribunals and settlement agreements, while individuals are being represented in their equal pay, maternity/paternity rights, TUPE, unfair or wrongful dismissal and whistle-blowing claims. During 2017, partner Richard Porter, who ‘listens carefully and then provides clear and concise advice‘, and solicitor Sam Welham acted for local and international clients from the media, printing, retail, financial, care, sports, construction, farming, education, engineering, hospitality and professional sectors.
Commercial Property: The ‘impressive, efficient, attentive-to-detail and competent’ commercial property department at Thompson Smith and Puxon, ‘one of the best firms in Colchester’, ‘runs a tight ship’ and ‘is fully up to speed with the law, but also well versed in the current property industry practice, demonstrating good judgement and pragmatism during negotiations’. Development site and agricultural land transactions, strategic land planning, lease work and enfranchisement matters represent the team’s core areas of activity. ‘Vastly knowledgeable’ Stephen Firmin, who is recommended for his ‘professional approach’, heads the practice, and ‘effective and sensible’ Kerry Addison was promoted to partner in March 2017. ‘Knowledgeable and helpful’ solicitor Mark Rowlands is the third key member of the team.
Dispute Resolution: The commercial litigation department at Thompson Smith and Puxon ‘consistently impresses with its significant breadth of skills, timely service and sound advice’, ‘making clients feel valued’. Its key focus areas include tenancy, property lease, and wills and probate disputes, with additional contract, partnership, insolvency, debt recovery, professional negligence and defamation expertise. The ‘pragmatic and supportive’ Judith Winward ‘takes a proactive approach to conflict resolution’ and became an associate in 2017. The ‘exceptional’ Sharon Auton heads the practice.
Six of our lawyers are noted as Next Generation Lawyers. In 2018/19 Associate solicitors Aileen Hirst (Wills & Estates) and Robert Ashworth (Wills & Estates) join associate solicitor Sarah White (Wills & Estates), associate solicitor Caroline Nicholls (Corporate & Commercial), associate solicitor Clare Sheeran (Clinical Negligence) and Director Kerry Addison (Commercial Property and Agriculture & Estates) who have retained Next Generation status.
Wills & Estates: The ‘thorough, efficient and reliable’ private client department at Thompson Smith and Puxon ‘exhibits a high degree of professional experience and capability’ with ‘a caring and considerate side’ and a willingness to ‘go the extra mile’ in order to ‘provide a comprehensive and timely service’. Focus areas include will preparation, probate, trusts, tax and succession planning, registering enduring powers of attorney, and Court of Protection matters, as well as asset preservation relating to long-term residential or nursing care requirements. A large proportion of clients have a business or agricultural background. ‘Sharp-minded, sympathetic and hardworking’ Fiona Ashworth, who ‘has a wealth of experience’, leads the practice from the Colchester office and is a main contact for elderly and farming clients. In October 2017, ‘friendly and persevering’ Robert Ashworth and ‘conscientious, sympathetic and efficient’ Aileen Hirst, who ‘has a practical grasp of problems and solutions’, joined Clacton-based Sarah White at associate level. Clients further recommend ‘exceptionally professional and caring’ solicitor Adina Milleare.
Agriculture & Estates: Clients rate Thompson Smith and Puxon as ‘a professional firm with an excellent knowledge of all matters relating to agriculture and estates’, with Kerry Addison singled out for her ability to handle matters with ‘the utmost tact and diplomacy’. The practice’s agricultural law expertise encompasses advice on commercial and real estate issues, as well as estate planning, taxation and succession issues. In 2017, the team acted for landowners and developers on site acquisitions and disposals totalling £120m in value; assisted with agricultural tenancy matters including surrenders and regrants; and advised farmers and agribusinesses on employment issues ranging from restructuring and redundancy exercises to disciplinary procedures. Practice head Stephen Firmin ‘takes the time to ensure that the client’s objectives are fully understood and tailors advice to achieve those objectives’.
Family: The ‘organised, efficient, compassionate and reputable’ family practice at ‘well-established, good local firm’ Thompson Smith and Puxon ‘deals with numerous areas of family law’ and ‘maintains a consistently professional approach with clients’. In terms of adult representation, areas of expertise comprise divorce and separation, cohabitation, same-sex relationships, injunctions, and pre-nuptial agreements, as well as business and property aspects. The practice also engages in matters concerning children, including residence, contact, parental responsibility, prohibited steps and specific issue orders. Clients recommend ‘diligent’ collaboratively trained solicitor Alison Cantor, who handles financial matters, agreements, and Court of Protection work, as well as working together with the firm’s conveyancing team. Practice lead Marcus Price in Clacton-on-Sea and associate Shelley Cumbers, who is both Resolution- and collaboratively trained, are also core members.
In addition to our two Leading Individuals and six Next Generation Lawyers a further 13 are also recommended by the Legal 500; 21 TSP lawyers in total are individually recommended.
Clinical Negligence: The clinical negligence department of Thompson Smith and Puxon impresses with its ‘strong teamwork, prompt response times and appropriate advice’, as well as by ‘keeping clients fully informed throughout the process’. It represents claimants in A&E, birth injury and cerebral palsy, paediatric, psychiatric, fatal and orthopaedic matters. A recent highlight was the £1.4m settlement of a claim against an NHS Trust concerning the negligent drainage of a cyst via a shunt, which led to the claimant suffering a cardiac arrest and catastrophic brain damage. Birth injury specialist Julian Wilson, brain injury partner and department lead Steve Webb, whose ‘strength is listening to clients and giving them time to understand’, associate Clare Sheeran and ‘excellent and professional’ solicitor Sam Welham are the key contacts.
Personal Injury: Thompson Smith and Puxon is ‘a top firm for personal injury claims in this geographical area and beyond’; its ‘competent and pleasant’ personal injury team provides ‘excellent service’. The lawyers cover claims involving road traffic accidents, employment liability, trips and slips, defective products and accidents on private premises. Special expertise exists in work environment diseases, repetitive strain injuries and psychiatric shock matters. Clients recommend ‘experienced and sensible’ partner Steve Webb, associate solicitor Clare Sheeran and solicitor Sam Welham, all of whom are considered ‘hardworking’.
Senior Partner, Mary Anne Fedeyko, says “At TSP we provide a holistic service for our business clients and pride ourselves on our timely service delivery and effective communication with our clients. We put understanding our clients’ needs, and how the legal advice we deliver to them fits the manner in which their business operates, at the heart of everything we do. For the Legal 500 to highlight this is confirmation that our continued efforts in this area are bearing fruit.”
Managing Partner Steve Webb adds “ Our private client teams are strong, knowledgeable and empathetic and these recommendations, alongside those for our business services team, reflect the strength and depth of talent across the nine practice areas. All in all another very successful set of Legal 500 results.”