We are delighted to share we have a total of 13 Recommended Practice Areas, 3 Leading Individuals, Alastair Goggins, Chris Felton and Michelle Di Gioia, 1 Next Generation Partner Niamh Minihane, 1 Rising Star Tim Blackman and 21 Key Lawyers.
Personal Tax, Trusts and Probate
Gardner Leader LLP is well-known for its capacity to handle complex wills, tax, and estate administration work. Advising high-net-worth individuals on tax planning strategies to minimise potential inheritance tax, and administering significant family trusts are the core specialisms of the team. Jolyon Barton continues to head the inheritance protection team, which is also well-known for its work with vulnerable clients. Penny Wright is a key name for such matters, and focuses her practice on tax planning, wills, incapacity issues and trusts. Elsewhere, Niamh Minihane’s strength lies in will drafting and associated issues, especially on matters that involve elderly clients.
Practice head(s): Jolyon Barton
‘Well-rounded regional practice able to cover all aspects of private client work in a professional and efficient manner.’
‘This team are very professional and knowledgeable, but balance this with humanity. They are extremely kind and empathetic in dealing with vulnerable clients in the appropriate way for each circumstance. They key capabilities are their ability to equally deal with complex and technical, but also simple and straight forward, adapting their style to suit each circumstance.’
‘Penny Wright and Marie Verney particularly stand out. Both have superb technical knowledge and a strong ability to adapt their styles with patience and compassion to the client in question. Both are extremely good with vulnerable clients and circumstances, moving at a pace to suit the client and the circumstance.’
Corporate and Commercial
Gardner Leader LLP‘s Thames Valley offering in this space is headed up by Philip Humphreys who leads the business team, and focuses his practice on high-value mergers and acquisitions, management buyouts and reorganisations – frequently those with an international element. Experienced lawyer Peter James is the key name on the commercial team which covers commercial contracts and business law, including IT, IP and data protection issues.
Practice head(s): Philip Humphreys
‘The ability to ask for a short review on key points is quick and effective.’
‘Two things count. The speed at which someone gets back to you and then their ability to understand the context in which you ask the question or need to understand the risk. They do both very well.’
‘The team have technical expertise in buckets, but most importantly the senior team have lots of real world experience so you get advised on what is best for you and your business and not just advised what the law says.’
‘Philip Humphreys is calm, considerate, decisive and a true gentleman. His vast experience means his solutions to problems are commercial and pithy.’
‘The team is technically good, yet user friendly.’
Corporate and commercial disputes, civil fraud and international arbitration are the premium currencies for Gardner Leader LLP’s dispute resolution team, which is described as possessing ‘expertise and a client base which is much more stereotypical of a large London practice’. Chris Felton heads up the team, specialising in multi-jurisdictional litigation that regularly sees him act before international courts and in complex arbitration. Health and safety expert and ‘great strategist’ Michelle Di Gioia is another key contact within the group.
Practice head(s): Chris Felton
‘Excellent team. They are very collaborative, strategically minded and able to handle heavy commercial matters.’
‘The team punches above its weight for an out-of-London firm, with expertise and a client base which is much more stereotypical for a large London practice.’
‘Chris Felton is the best litigator we know. Strategic, tactical and such a nice person that his opponents do not see him coming until it is too late. The leopard of the litigation world.’
‘The team are always available, reactive, personable and practical and will always “think outside the box” in terms of solutions.’
‘Andrew Shipp is a safe and steady pair of hands, tactically astute and unphased by even the most difficult of opponents.’
‘Michelle Di Gioia is a great strategist. She is very tactical and hard nosed which is exactly what you need in a litigator.’
‘A small regional firm which has the capability to go up against the big city firms and more than hold its own.’
‘Chris Felton is a consummate litigator, more than a match for any “magic circle” solicitor opponent. He has enviable expertise in “big ticket” High Court litigation and, especially, international commercial arbitration. Assured, knowledgeable and astute, you would want him running your team in any heavyweight litigation.’
Gardner Leader LLP‘s employment team is headed up by ‘outstanding’ partner Julie Taylor, who is well-experienced on high value litigation, particularly discrimination claims. Traditional work streams for the group include TUPE, redundancy and unfair dismissal but an increased emphasis on flexible working issues alongside ESG strategy advice have been growing features of the practice over the past year. Employment partner Belinda Walters left the firm in October 2022.
Practice head(s): Julie Taylor
‘The experience was excellent right from the start. Even the simple process of onboarding as a client was straightforward and used technology to make it easy.’
‘The benefit of the practice is that they are friendly which makes working with them really easy and pleasant. This also makes it easier to discuss worries and concerns which Gardner Leader are more than happy to listen to. However in my experience they were also firm with me where they needed to be when I was suggesting or thinking of things that were not worth it.’
‘I worked almost exclusively with Julie Taylor who was outstanding. Julie got up to speed with my issues extremely quickly. She was very firm with me in certain areas which saved me time and money. She also collaborated well with other law firms which became part of my matter.’
‘I was so pleased with Julie Taylor that I have since recommended her team to others.’
Clinical negligence: claimant
Gardner Leader LLP’s clinical negligence offering is housed within the wider firm’s dispute resolution practice group and handles high-level and complex claims. Alastair Goggins heads up both, with expert knowledge of fatalities and inquest claims, cancer delays, head and spinal injuries, amputations and infant birth complications.
Practice head(s): Alastair Goggins
‘Strong leadership and a detailed knowledge and understanding of their clients make this practice stand out.’
‘Alastair Goggins has a firm grasp of his cases, a good tactical understanding and a practical approach to resolution.’
Personal injury: claimant
Gardner Leader LLP handles predominantly high-level personal injury cases, including an array of publicised transport accidents including aviation, car and train alongside an increasing focus on complex and sensitive claims that involve mental health issues. Litigation practice head Alastair Goggins leads the personal injury team, whilst Andrew Shipp is a go-to name for road traffic accidents, employer’s liability claims, trip or slip cases and fatal accidents.
‘Andrew Shipp is the fee earner with whom I have had most contact. He is an excellent lawyer, with great attention to and command of detail, whilst also being a thoughtful and considerate advisor for his clients.’
‘It’s a close knit team run by the delightful Andrew Shipp. He listens carefully to his clients and takes real pride in his work.’
Charities and not-for-profit
With activity in matters pertaining to independent schools, Gardner Leader LLP assists both domestic and international charitable organisations. Alastair Goggins leads the team and routinely assists both individuals and charities on wills and trusts. Greg Humphreys handles commercial property issues, while Penny Wright advises client on compliance with the Charities Act. All of the individuals that have been mentioned are located in Newbury.
‘The team at Gardner Leader are prompt and the advice is always clear.’
‘We work with Greg Humphreys who has provided clear and helpful advice on which we have used to address problems and overcome obstacles.’
Contentious trusts and probate
The contentious trust and probate team at Gardner Leader LLP is led by Alastair Goggins, whose broad workload features activity before the Court of Protection, in the removal of executors, and settlement disputes. Goggins is supported by Ashleigh Wong who leverages her background experience in residential property. All of the individuals that have been mentioned are located in Newbury.
Practice head(s): Alastair Goggins
Other key lawyers: Ashleigh Wong
‘Good knowledge and experience in their areas of expertise. Very professional approach and good secretarial support.’
‘Alastair Goggins and Ashleigh Wong are two stand out individuals for their insights, application, and timely effort, they always rapidly respond to changing circumstances.’
‘Alastair Goggins has a wealth of experience and a very common-sense approach to the matter at hand.’
‘Alastair Goggins and his team at Newbury have been supportive and open about all processes. The key strengths are the ability to listen, process and understand my unique situation and provide options.’
‘Alastair Goggins has assembled a bespoke team to fit my particular needs, there is continuity, good communication and expert knowledge available.’
‘Alastair Goggins had a lot of knowledge and experience particularly in mediation and the tactics for negotiation at mediation.’
‘Ashleigh Wong is professional, empathetic and nothing is too much trouble. I appreciate that she takes the time to explain the risks and runs through various options. They are not afraid to consult their colleagues in other department if they are unsure of specific law or issues.’
‘The stand-out people I have worked with are Alastair Goggins and Ashleigh Wong, they both have energy and drive. I am extremely likely to recommend these individuals and the firm.’
Divorce, finances, private children disputes, separation, cohabitation, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreement is the premium work in the Thames Valley for Gardner Leader LLP, frequently seeing work that involves high-net-worth individuals and cross-border elements. Family team leader Simon Fisher is a key contact for financial matters, private law child cases and unmarried disputes. Elsewhere in the group, the ‘professional, hugely experienced and diligent’ Suzy Hamshaw is the go-t0 name for high-value financial disputes in divorce proceedings.
Practice head(s): Simon Fisher
‘The people at Gardner Leader are absolutely fantastic at providing focussed, relevant and perceptive advice to enable effective resolution in Family Court matters. There is excellent sharing of information within the firm so that whomever you speak to understands where your case is at and can pick up in an advisory capacity quickly in the case of needing swift responses to emerging communications.’
‘Suzy Hamshaw has been the most outstanding source of advice and support. She is able to capably manage dominating adversaries with skill and professionalism.’
‘Gardner Leader were great from start to finish through two huge parts of my life which needed legal support. At all times I understood what was going on. I was very pleased with the outcome which I felt was also value for money.’
‘Amy Wilson Weymouth was my solicitor and she was superb. Key phrases to describe her would be; professional, compassionate, understanding, great communicator, highly organised, patient and wise to all situations.’
‘The team are experts in highly acrimonious proceedings both children and financial and provide good advice along the way ensuring that clients are updated regularly. The teams clearly communicated across the various areas, so that I didn’t have to re-explain issues. Gardner Leader is the best firm that I have come across and are always willing to help.’
‘Simon Fisher has good judgment and strikes a balance between pragmatism and pushing his client’s case when it’s worth it. Suzy Hamshaw is professional, hugely experienced and diligent. I would have no hesitation in recommending her to a friend or family member.’
Both local businesses and large international corporate players comprise the client list represented by Gardner Leader LLP, for whom the team act on a full range of commercial property matters including acquisitions, financing, developments, and landlords and tenant work. Newbury’s Greg Humphreys, an experienced lawyer praised as having ‘surpassed all expectation when it comes to all mechanics of commercial leases’, leads the practice. Suki Hardy also comes highly recommended and focuses on acquisitions, dispositions, leasing and development of land. Richard Buckeridge is another important name of note and advises on all aspects of real estate. At associate level, Tim Blackman focuses on acquisitions, disposals and landlord & tenant work across the Thames Valley.
Practice head(s): Greg Humphreys
‘Gardner Leader have provided excellent guidance in regard of our retail property portfolio.’
‘Tim Blackman is knowledgeable and thorough with strong communication skills.’
‘Greg Humphreys has always surpassed all expectation when it comes to all mechanics of commercial leases.’
‘Suki Hardy is the definition of professional. Attentive, detailed-orientated and dedicated to the client’s needs. She is fair in negotiations and her knowledge of the market allows her to adeptly advise when to push back on or accept certain terms.’
‘Greg Humphreys is extremely professional and has a thorough understanding of the law and how it would pertain to your case and affect your outcome as the client.’
With Alastair Goggins leading the litigation division, and Michelle Di Gioia heading up the property-focused side, Gardner Leader LLP‘s Newbury-based team is recommended for its strength in mortgage repossession claims and breaches of leases. Goggins specialises in contentious matters involving trust disputes and estoppel claims, while Di Gioia handles rent arrears and restrictive covenants. Andrew Shipp focuses on TOLATA claims, while Maidenhead-based senior associate Sam Pinder assists with complex property litigation. Alex Tigwell joined the team as partner from Guillaumes in July 2022.
‘The team had sufficient bench strength to handle all aspects of my case. Further, I selected this firm due to their network of contacts in the wider legal world, which was helpful in my mediation exercise and valuable should this case have gone to court.’
‘I chose this firm based on the reputation of Alastair Goggins, someone recommended to me by a colleague who was involved in a similar litigation. Alastair exceeded my expectations, he approached the case in a careful methodical way, setting out all options at each stage of the engagement and was always available to provide advice and guidance.
‘Very pragmatic approach and easy to work with.’
‘Alastair Goggins is a delight to work with, efficient and a good tactical lawyer.’
‘Michelle Di Gioia is experienced, knowledgeable and a first-rate litigator.’
‘Andrew Shipp deals with commercial and property disputes and is strong in both areas.’
‘They are an accessible, friendly and very competent firm who I do recommend regularly to lay clients in search of a good litigator. They take great care over their work and are efficient and I believe they give a good service level to their clients. I very much enjoy working with them.’
‘Sam Pinder stands out – he is a reasonably junior, but very capable member of the team. He gets on well with both clients and the Bar and is well thought of. He cares a lot about his clients and will always go the extra mile to ensure a deadline is met and met properly.’
Corporate and Commercial – Gloucestershire, Somerset & Wiltshire
Gardner Leader LLP, based in Swindon, provides advice to a wide range of both domestic and multinational corporations on their transactions in the South West. Praised for its ‘specific and detailed experience’, corporate and commercial mandates are handled by two distinct teams, which work closely together on transactions. Philip Humphreys oversees both teams and is regularly engaged to act on share and asset deals on behalf of vendors. The corporate department is headed by Joe Lewis, while Peter James leads on commercial work. Jeff Jenkins retired in June 2022 and Belinda Walters left for Moore Barlow in October of the same year.
Practice head(s): Philip Humphreys
‘The part of the practice which we deal with has specific and detailed experience in our area of business interest. This means that the advice and support provided is directly relevant.’
‘The practice is proactive and issues valuable and relevant information on legal issues affecting our environment on a regular basis.’
‘Relevant members of the team take the time to know our business in detail and so are able to provide tailored and specific advice rather than simply being generic in their responses.’
‘Peter James provides excellent and timely support for our requirements and requests.’
‘Widely experienced. Able to explain issues clearly. Calm and communicative.’
‘Gail Vallis and Joe Lewis are both excellent. Experienced, calm and professional.’